Saturday, 20 March 2010

Lecture Notes - Postmodernism


Modern, modernity, modernism.

In association with... experimentation, innovation, individualism, progress, purity, originality, seriousness, self expression.

Postmodern condition characterised by - exhaustion, pluralism (a variety of approaches and topics), pessimism (perception of life on a negative aspect - glass half empty), Disillusionment with the idea of absolute knowledge.

Post modernism and modernism overlap - reaction to: modern life / technology / new materials / communication.

Jean Tinguely 1960 - Homage to New York (wheels and machinery)

Origins of Postmodernism

  • 1917 - German writer Pudolph Pannwitz spoke of 'nihilistic, amoral, postmodern men'.
  • 1964 - Leslie Fielder described a 'post' culture, which rejected the elitist values of modern culture.
1960's - Beginning
1970's - Established as term
1980's - Recognisable style
1990's - Dominant theoretical discourse.
Today - Tired and simmering.

Uses of term 'postmodern'
  • After postmodernism.
  • Historical era following the modern.
  • Contra modernism.
  • Equivalent to 'late capitalism' (Jameson).
  • Artistic and stylistic eclecticism.
  • 'Global village' phenomena : globalisation of cultures, races, images, capital, products.
The Language of Postmodern Architecture (1977)
15th July 1972 3:32pm - Modernism dies. (Charles Jencks).
The demolition of Pruitt - Igoe development, St. Louis.

Le Corbusier 1927 - Plan Voisin (utopia and technological determinism, re-development idea).

Building to be re-developed for modern look.

Postmodern buildings:
AT + T Building - Philip Johnson NYC 1982.
Frank Gehry, Guggenheim museum, Bilbao, 1997.

J.F. Lyotard - 'The postmodern condition' 1979 - 'Incredulity towards metanarratives' - totalising belief systems, result=crisis in confidence.

Modern Movement (dominant post war):
  • Simplified aesthetic.
  • Utopian ideas.
  • Truth to materials.
Postmodern aesthetics:
  • Complexity
  • Chaos
  • Mixing materials/styles (bricolage)
  • Re-using images: parody and irony.

Roy Lichtenstein 1965 - This Must Be The Place

Las Vegas - Postmodern city? Robert Venturi - Learning from Las Vegas 1972.

Claes Oldenburg 2001 - Dropped Cone

Computer animation, space, robots, future.

End of 1950's purest form of modernism painting was Formalism.

Andy Warhol 1978 - Oxdation Painting

Jenny Holzer 1983 - Abuse of power (statement art)

Piero Manzoni 1960 - Artists Shit

David Shrigley 2000 - Art Lovers (comic approach to abstract art)

Roy Lichtenshein 1965 - Red Painting (brushstroke)

Franz Kline 1957 - Untitled

'Advertising is the greatest form of the twentieth century' Marshall Mcluhan.

Low art appeals to senses and high art a creates a divide.

'Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing'. 1956 Richard Hamiton

Robert Venturu 'I like elements which are hybrid, rather than 'pure', 'compromising' rather than 'clean', 'distorted' rather than 'straight forward', 'ambiguous' rather than 'articulated ', perverse as well as impersonal...'

'Generally postmodern artists like to mix the highbrow and the poplulist, the alienating and the accessible, and to 'sample' elements from different styles and eras. Now you can re-invent yourself endlessly, gaily pick and mixing your way thorough the gaudy fragments of a shattered culture'.

Cover of Roland Barthes 1976 UK edition of 'Mythologies' designed by Philip Castle.

Crisis in confidence... but ... also freedom, new possibilities, questioning old limitations, space for marginalised discourse, women's sexual diversity and multiculturalism.

'Neo TV' Umberto Eco
  • TV quiz shows about TV shows.
  • Out takes shows.
  • TV news items about TV celebrities.
  • Reality TV.
Eco, 1984 - Aguide to the Neo-TV of the 1980's.

Yoko Ono - Sky TV 1966
Katsuhiro otomo comics made into TV programmes.
Rebellion, God save the Queen - Sex Pistols.
Adbusters, Design Anarchy issue 2001.

  • A vague disputed form/term.
  • Postmodernism attitude of questioning conventions ( modernism).
  • Postmodernism aesthetic = multiplicity of styles and approaches.
  • Shift in thought and theory investigating 'crisis in confidence.
  • Space for 'new voices'.
  • Rejection of technological determinism?

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