Introduction to PostmodernismPresentation Transcript
Introduction to Postmodernism
“Postmodernism is not the name of a period, such asneoclassicism or postimpressionism; it is a condition ofresistance that can arise wherever modernist ideas are inplace. Postmodernism works like a dormant illness in thebody of modernism; when modernism falters andfails, postmodernism flourishes.”James Elkins, Master Narratives and TheirDiscontents, (New York: Routledge, 2005)http://www.jameselkins.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=226:master-narratives-and-their-discontents&catid=1:academic-books&Itemid=8
Modernism is related to but not to beconfused with Modernity. Modernityrelates to the massive changes in cultureand society due mainly to the developmentsbrought about by the industrial revolutionsand subsequent political unrest withinEurope.
TO UNDERSTAND POSTMODERNISM, FIRST YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS MEANT MY MODERNITY AND MODERNISMClementGreenberg(1909- 1904)
‘Modernist Painting oriented itselfto flatness as it did to nothing else’ Greenberg’s ‘Modernist Painting’ is a dominant account of modernism, which builds on the formalist theories of key 19th and 20th century writers, who believed that aesthetic experience was art’s predominant aim and value, and explained the development of modern art as a progression towards an increasingly pure abstraction, characterised by a focus on form.
According to Rosalind Kraussthe ‘end’ of modernism isnot the ‘beginning’ ofpostmodernism, ratherpostmodernism is a form ofresistance that takes placewithin modernism.Arthur C. Danto locates thebreak between modernismand postmodernism in theappearance of Warhol’sBrillo Boxes in 1964.
Jeff Wall, Picture for Women, 1979
CINDY SHERMAN,‘Untitled Film Stills, 1978
Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Still #54Sherman shows that to represent the self is to reproduce analready given type.
“One is not born a woman, but, rathe r becomes one.” Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1973)RroseSélavy (Marcel Duchamp)1921Photograph by Man Ray
“What Warhol’s dictum [that anything could be art]amounted to was that you cannot tell when somethingis a work of art just by looking at it, for there is noparticular way that art has to look. The upshot was thatyou could not teach the meaning of art by examples.”(Danto 1992, p.5)
Lyotard in his book the postmoderncondition, clearly articulated theview that postmodernism is aboutpluralism and fragmentation. Themodern period is bankrupt hesaid, because the meta narratives ofthe past assume a progressiontoward social enlightenment andemancipation, meta narrativesbeing Marxism and Freudianismand all forms of Enlightenmentreason.
The philosophical revolution in art:You can’t tell art just by looking.The revolution Danto is talking aboutis that the difference between art andnon-art is no longer visible (eventhough it is still there).The difference must be conceptual, not visible. Thework raises a philosophical question about thedifference between art and non-art.
After Pop Art, artbecame eclectic orpluralistic and beganaddressing thecondition of latecapitalism.The art world todayreflects many of theideas, methods andmaterials initiated by Alexander Guy, Greggs (2010)Pop Art. http://www.alexanderguy.co.uk/
In his rejection of the distinction between low and high art, Koons is a typically‘post-modern’ artist. ‘Post-modern art’ is a reaction to the ‘consumerism’ thathas been made possible by the fact that manufacturing of products,distribution and dissemination have become very cheap. However, instead ofcriticizing the ordinariness and commonness of all these products, post-modern art just accepts them, and in Koons case somehow both celebratesand ironicizes them.
Baudrillard, Jean ( 2001) Simulacra and Simulations, in Jean Baudrillard:Selected Writings, Poster, M (ed.) Cambridge, Polity Press.Danto, Arthur C (1992) Beyond the Brillo Box: The visual arts in post-historicalperspective. London, University of California Press.Danto, Arthur C (1997). ‘After The End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale ofHistory’, Princeton University Press.Greenberg, Clement (1989) Art and Culture: Critical Essays. Boston, BeaconPress.Huyssen, Andreas (1986) After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture andPostmodernism, London, MacMillan Press LTD.