Andrew over at Ye Olde Magick Blogge had such a nice run with the archetypes of magic. That inspired me (great term of ripping off an idea) to post my most disliked types of characters that magicians portray worthy of failure. Let's continue with the Avant-gardist:
A basic writing class will tell you, that when writing a fictional story the readers need a character that relates to them. Same goes for movies. An audience needs an "Everyman", an ordinary individual to identify with. A magic show is a bit like a movie. An audience is watching the magician. Usually magic shows are one man shows, ergo the magician needs to be the Everyman. He cannot be too far out. He still needs to be relatable. A bit weird is okay, but once the weirdness goes to a point where the general audience cannot follow anymore, I see a problem.
A typical example of this type of performer is Dan Sperry. He might be the nicest guy, but I cannot relate to his act. His motivation why he does magic remains unclear and way too much is left for the audience.
While it might be nice that the audience needs to make up their own damn mind, I still think that the main purpose of magic is entertainment. Making me think is not my idea of entertainment. Don't confuse that with stupefying the act. The movie "Inception" is a nice example on how to do it right. You have characters you can relate to. Their motifs are clear, yet the implications of the plot are far from being stupid or simple. (Besides, that is why the first Matrix movie was great and the other two failed aside from the pretty pictures)
Back to magic: I see why certain magicians want to be a character that is far out. Differentiating yourself from others is a way to be unique. But not at the cost of not being understood. If the magic show has no "Everyman" it better be so darn amazing that the audience can look past the fact that the "why" deprives itself from the show. Some manage that fine line. Most don't.