This thesis started from the question of the exclusive boundary of Modernist Art. Modernism has been established on the basis of the opposites such as eyes and body, the spiritual and the material, art and non-art, avant-garde and kitsch, original and reproduction, maleness and femaleness, nature and technology, and then, arming with historical necessity, destined as unreversible law, universal moral, and fundamental essence through American theorists such like Alfred H. Barr,Jr., Clement Greenberg, and Michael Fried. It became a very meaningful turning point that in the sixties, the myth of Modernism was criticized and lost its validity, and reappreciated just like a historical happening by the stream of post-Modernism.
But it leaves room for overlooking the discordance between American Modernist theories and historical modernists that we consider as though the myth of Modernism was destroyed just by the criticism and reflection of ex-post-facto. So this study focused on the fact that in the realm of Modernism there have been multiple discourses, which could not be unified as only one narrative, and also a lot of contradictions and ruptures threatening the purity of Modernism.
This thesis selected two historical facts among them. One is that 'robot avant-garde', which overwhemed modern art in the early 20th century, was excluded as marginal stream in the American Modernist theories. Robot avant-garde ardently worshiped mechanical man as a new subject and object of modern art, and as a'New Man' of the new world of future. Therefore mechanical man was a symbol in which all the ideals of historical avant-gardes and Modernists were condensed. But the mechanical man, by taking both aspects of the hierarchical opposites premised in Modernist discourse, made the distinction between the pure and the impure invalid, and by revealing the points which that opposites were implicated with political, social, and cultural contexts, brought about the doubt of the purity and autonomy of Modernism itself. This doubleness of mechanical man made his existence invisible or marginal in the American Modernist theories.
The other is a specific group which has been called as the Bauhaus. The experimentations of the Bauhaus were inclined to so-called 'unified art', and therefore expanded boundary of art included even daily life. To theorists who intended to give Modernism a rigid boundary, therefore, the existence of the Bauhaus was very troublesome. This troublesomeness was well expressed in the monumental lineage of modern art created by A. H. Barr, Jr.. The Bauhaus, which existed as a only cut-off in Barr's table, is a Modernist art and at the same time a non-Modernist art. It is boundary or joint itself between the visible lineage of art and non-artistic contexts existing as an empty blank in that table. For the project of the Bauhaus is the extension of art, with violating the boundary of art, and based on the autonomy of vision, with revealing mechanical body which that vision results from.
Therefore, by re-locating robot avant-garde and the Bauhaus into the limited Modernist theories, this thesis intended to relativatize American Modernist dis course and to uncover the fact that Modernism itself was, having countless seams, heterogeneous and non-uniform tendency. The mechanical man of the Bauhaus was constructed through contemporary socio-political contexts and mass culture reversing the purity of Modernism, and the pure vision, accentuated in the field of Modernism, entered upon the stage with and as a part of mechanical body. Consequently, paradoxical aspects such like the mechanical man of the Bauhaus is not the others of Modernist art but one of various centers which made Modernism meaningful, and propose the possibility of multiple Modernism, overcoming singular Modernism which American Modernist theories and the criticism of post-Modernism to Modernism have approved as a premise.