Proceedings of the National Academy of the Avant Garde

Boffo Socko Books announces the 40th Anniversary re-release of

Proceedings of the National Academy of the Avant Garde

Now available for pre-sale on


Henry Korn
Henry James Korn

From Henry James Korn, a leader in the experimental writing and small press community in Lower Manhattan during the 1970’s, comes volume one, issue one of an imaginary academic journal that administers the coup de grace to the American reality consensus.

Skewering topics as diverse as art, politics, agriculture, professional sports automotive supplies, food, pet products, and children’s toys, Korn’s Proceedings has had an influence on popular culture for over four decades. It is entirely possible that Lady Gaga’s meat dress, worn at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, was inspired by Henry James Korn when he invented a suit of armor comprised of 1000 transistor radios all tuned to different Spanish-language stations.

Original publication of the book in 1975 by Assembling Press was made possible by a grant from the Literature Program of the National Endowment for the Arts through the Participation Project Foundation.



“The higher comic vision of life,” writes Bergson scholar Wylie Sypher in The Meanings of Comedy, “is humane and an achievement of man as a social being.” Avant garde comic art remains our best, conceivably our only response, to an increasingly fragmentary world over which our individual control is minimal.

So now we have a publication by Henry James Korn with an oxymoronic title embracing programmed immortality, nostalgia for the future, and fluorescent chicken bones. But art exists where art is perceived and anything can be art at that point where we remove the object from the realm of the practical and personalize it though our own esthetics. Our misperceptions occur because we allow our reactions to be institutionalized and enslaved to official certifications of validity represented by the multiple choice and essay questions that Korn appends to his text in order to encourage reader response. “You cannot-a kid me, dere ain’t no sanity clause,” is the way Chico Marx expressed his opposition to authority in a Night at the Opera which Henry James Korn takes as a motto for his Proceedings. Elsewhere, Korn writes of two men in a room singing loudly, each in response to the other, filling the room with alternate balloons of sound. “Sometimes,” writes Korn, “we call this Opera and other times it’s the on-going process of life itself.’  Korn evidently understands much of what Franz Kafka was getting at in his notebooks when he explained he extravagantly exaggerated fictional situations purely in the interests of advancing clarity.

-Loris Essary

Reviews & Comments

“I am amazed. Not only is Proceedings of the National Academy of the Avant Garde the only funny example of experimental fiction I have ever laid eyes on, it is the only example of experimental art in any form that I’ve seen in years that I thought was really good.  Give us more, Mr. Korn and mark my words they won’t be calling you experimental for long.”
-P.J. O’Rourke

“I particularly enjoyed reading Henry James Korn’s wry short fiction such as Proceedings of the National Academy of the Avant Garde.”
-Carll Tucker, The Village Voice

“Proceedings of the National Academy of the Avant Garde is a whimsically graceful commentary on the consumer ethic. It’s refined wit masks a melancholy acuity that may give those living in poverty the willies.”
-Denis Boyles

“100% refreshing. In Proceedings of the National Academy of the Avant Garde the reader senses the astonishing presence of an authentic child of surrealism.”
-Sheila Ascher and Dennis Straus

“I loved Proceedings of the National Academy of the Avant Garde and was particularly taken by the concept of New York as a giant model of the human body. So what about the Lincoln Tunnel as anus evacuating its shit into New Jersey?”
-Nick Acocella


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Publication History

Proceedings of the National Academy of the Avant Garde: Administering the Coup de Grace to the American Reality Concensus
Written by Henry James Korn

Published: Fall 1975 by Assembling Press
Paperback, 30 pages
ISBN: 0-915-066-19-2

Published: September 25, 2015 by Boffo Socko Books
E-book,  39 pages
ISBN 10: 194391205X
ISBN 13: 978-1-943912-05-6

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