Modernism and post
A2 Media Studies
Critical Perspectives in Media
To be introduced to a new unit - post
To understand some new terms Modernism and Postmodernism.
Modernism - A style/movement in the Arts
(Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Literature,
Poetry etc.) that challenged traditional and
We might think of this as beginning in the late
1800s. Roughly occurred between 1875 and the
Put very simply, the argument is that artists etc.
believed that Art needed to change to reflect the
change in society - which was becoming more
modern, industrial, secular (non-religious) and
rational (ideas based on reason and science as
Modernist art and architecture what features do they have in
common? Do you like it?
Modernist art challenged the realism
and illusion of the romantic era and
was often ‘abstract’
Modernist art - what
views do you have on it?
Modernism is self conscious and led
to experimentation - artists’
paintings draw attention to
themselves and the materials used
ie the blob of paint. - E.g. Jackson
This skyscraper, the Seagram Building in New York
(1956–1958 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's), (right)
became the archetypal modernist building.
What are the main differences between modernist
architecture on the right and what came before it?
Why was modernist architecture designed in this way?
Modernist architects and designers believed that buildings should
be practically designed - as opposed to decorative Churches or
cathedrals in the past
Modernist designers typically rejected decoration in design,
preferring to emphasise the materials used and pure geometrical
Modernist literature is sub-genre of Modernism - characterised by
writing that was utopian, positive and reflected great developments
in the field of political theory, philosophy and psychoanalysis.
After WW2, the writing reflected disillusionment and a lack of trust
in government and religion, and displayed the fears of a darker
side of humanity. (eg T S Eliot’s Wasteland)
TS Eliot - poet
EM Forester - novelist
James Joyce - novelist and poet - Ulysses and Homer’s Odyssey
D H Lawrence - novelist, poet, playright - Lady Chatterley’s lover
Some argue we moved on to the
postmodern age - from the period following
the end of the 2nd World War. This is
contentious though - many critics and
academics would argue that postmodernism
is just a late stage of modernism.
You’ll see why when you understand what
the characteristic/features/techniques of
Alternative ways of thinking about
representation - rejecting traditional
Rejection of realism.
Fragmentation in form and representation.
Modernism challenged the status quo.
Modernism retained a belief that rationality and
reason were the key to progress.
(drawing attention to
itself as art)
Rejecting traditional ideas
about realism and
Write up on your blog the time period when modernity
existed and some descriptions of what kind of movement
it was and how it featured in the Arts.
Homework: Add 3 extra examples (each with images) to
your blog, of modernist art, architecture and novels (which
aren’t in this handout.)