Avant-garde from Below



Clemens Marschall will give a video lecture on his book Avant-garde from Below: Transgressive Performance from Iggy Pop to Joe Coleman and GG Allin (Rokko’s Adventures/Last Gasp, 2016), which is an account, through the 20th century and beyond, of a dangerous bastardisation of punk spirit and avant-garde theory. Three very unique characters trace a line through this history of precarious transgression in the fringes of popular culture: Iggy Pop, who was punk before punk; Joe Coleman, who distanced himself from the then-existing punk scene; and GG Allin, who died for what he thought was punk.

In this book, the story of confrontational performance art is not only told by the protagonists themselves, but also by those who are usually in the background: promoters, editors, partners, friends – and enemies. It includes four chapters that provide a historical and cultural context, as well as never before published photos of and in-depth interviews with: V. Vale (RE/Search) / Ron Turner (Last Gasp) / Steve Mackay (The Stooges) / James Williamson (The Stooges) / Greil Marcus / Joe Coleman / Whitney Ward / Susanne Pfeffer / Sam ‘Sammytown’ McBride (Fang) / Kim Jones (Mudman) / Carlo McCormick / Monte Cazazza + Meri St. Mary / Mark Pauline (Survival Research Laboratories) / George Petros / Joe Sopkowicz / Richard Kern / Cynthia Carr / Chicken John Rinaldi (GG Allin & The Murder Junkies) / Jeri Cain Rossi / Steven Blush / Dr. Heathen Scum (The Mentors) / Mike Doskocil (Drunks with Guns) / John Aes-Nihil / Goddess Bunny / Glen Meadmore / Lisa Carver / Shaun + Kaleidoscope Partridge / Sondra London /…/…/…

Avant-garde from Below: Transgressive Performance from Iggy Pop to Joe Coleman and GG Allin also covers Sun Ra, William S. Burroughs, Vietnam, Altamont, Charles Manson, Leslie Van Houten, Lester Bangs, John Waters, Gena Rowlands, John Fare, John Wayne Gacy, Suicide, Lydia Lunch, Nick Zedd, Adam Parfrey, Smelly Mustafa, Psycodrama, Schrödinger’s cat, cannibalism, hoaxes and ISIS…

Where is the line between a prank and serious crime? Between art and terrorism? Which lines must be transgressed? Which taboos need to be broken? How low can you go?

Much lower.


Clemens Marschall is a Vienna-based author and journalist. He publishes the German-language magazine Rokko’s Adventures that covers the fringes of popular culture, scientific weirdness and generally anything that could be of surprise to its readers. Marschall also promotes shows for artists, musicians and filmmakers, preferably in unconventional spaces and under unusual conditions. He wrote “Smoke Pot And Kill Your Parents”, a biography of the US band the Melvins. His latest book “Golden Days Before They End” is a swan song of a particular kind of Viennese drinking culture and its dying bars, in cooperation with photographer Klaus Pichler.