Friday, 19 October 2012

Lecture: Postmodernism

Definition: Term applied to a wide range of cultural analysis and production since the early 1970s. Whilst there are different attitudes to what postmodernism is, it is generally referred to as a significant shift in attitude away from the certainties of a modernism based on progress. The cultural production include the acceptance of many styles, the importance of surface and the playful adoption of different styles through parody and pastiche.

If Modernism is logically from 1860-1960 then Postmodernism is 1960s-today. (though some critics state postmodernism is over and we have entered a phase of Post-postmodernism)

-Initially born out of optimism, an aspirational reaction to WW1, with a view to harnessing technology to improve people's lives. 
-Ends up doctrinaire, almost blind obedience to rules, and above all - form follows function.

-A reaction to the Modernism rules
-Starts as a critique of the international style 
(Robert Venturi - Learning from Las Vegas, 1972. Ideas developed by Charles Jencks,1977)
-Only rule is that there are no rules.
-Celebrates what might otherwise be termed kitsch.

If Modernism equates with:
simplified aesthetic
utopian ideals
truth to materials
form follows function

Then Postmodernism involves:
Bricolage - mixing up of styles and materials
parody, pastiche and irony.

-Postmodernism has an attitude of questioning conventions (especially those set out by modernism)
-Postmodern aesthetic - multiplicity of styles and approaches
-Theme of 'double coding', borrowing, or 'quoting' from a number of historical styles
-Knowing juxtapositions, or 'postmodern irony'
-Questioning old limitations
-Space for marginalised discourse: women sexual diversity & multiculturalism

Le Corbusier, Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, 1953-5

Miles Van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, Seagram Building, New York, 1957

Philip Johnson, Sony Plaza (former AT&T Building), New York, 1978-84

Renzo Piano & Richard Rogers, Pompidop Centre, Paris, 1972-77

James String, Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttart, Germany, 1977 - 1983

Philippe Starck, Juicy Salif, 1990

Sex Boutique, Kings Road London, 1975 (Vivienne Westwood on left)

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962

Roy Litchenstien, Drowning Girl, 1963

Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988

Damien Hirst, Mother and Child Divided, 1993

Tracey Emin My Bed, 1998

David Carson, Don't Mistake Legibility for Communication

Barbara Kruger, I shop therefore I am, 1987

-Postmodern has an attitude of questioning convention - particularly modernism
-Postmodern aesthetic = multiplicity of styles and approached
-Shift in thought & theory investigating 'crisis & confidence'
-Space for 'new voices'

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