The avant-garde (/;
 French pronunciation:
 from French, "advance guard" or "
vanguard", literally "fore-guard")
 are people or works that are experimental,
radical, or unorthodox with respect to
 It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability,
 and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.
The avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the
norm or the
status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of
modernism, as distinct from
artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement and still continue to do so, tracing a history from
the Situationists to postmodern artists such as the
Language poets around 1981.
The avant-garde also promotes radical social reforms. It was this meaning that was evoked by the
Olinde Rodrigues in his essay "L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel" ("The artist, the scientist and the industrialist", 1825), which contains the first recorded use of "avant-garde" in its now customary sense: there, Rodrigues calls on artists to "serve as [the people's] avant-garde", insisting that "the power of the arts is indeed the most immediate and fastest way" to social, political and economic reform.