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Are we at the height of postmodernism?

 
 
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 02:41 pm
I wonder.
I'm not in the best position to answer this question, since only being 20, and therefore only having known the term and all it's complexities for a few years.

I go to an arts college, and what made me posit the question was the RIDICULOUS amount of irony that goes on here. It seems to be in the foundations of every joke, every art work, every statement and every dress code.
Horrid jumpers are fashionable because we wear then ironically. Massive fake glasses are cool for the same reason. I can buy the sun and still look cultured because people will see me and know I'm reading it for a joke. Retro radios, watches, clocks and telephones are cool because they're so bad they're good.
Yet it's all within the circle.
See a middle aged woman sitting outside wearing a horrid jumper and a vintage dress, reading the sun and you probably pity her.

I hope people know the indie/arty culture I'm talking about. Don't get me wrong, I'm only amused by the whole thing not angry and I subscribe to a lot of it because I find it interesting.
Maybe it's because I 'm now so exposed to it, whereas I previously haven't been, that I think it is possibly coming to a head.
Postmodernism was based on a renouncement of the serious modern complexity, a celebration of the superficial, an 'it's ****, which makes it good' attitude.
I know terms are only 'termed' after the events occur, but I wondered if anyone had any ideas about what might happen now?
I can't see it.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 5,550 • Replies: 81
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 03:48 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I thought that was over. Have to think about what's happening now/where.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 06:10 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
Postmodernism was based on a renouncement of the serious modern complexity, a celebration of the superficial, an 'it's ****, which makes it good' attitude.


It's a difficult question to answer because I, personally, believe postmodernism is a continuation rather than a renouncement of modernism. In art, anyway, many of the traits attributed to postmodernism are foundational to modernism as well. The ones you mentioned (irony, celebration of superficiality) are central theses in Ortega y Gasset's Dehumanization of Art, a treatise I consider to be one of the canonical texts of "high modernism." Quite possibly the only significant difference between modernism and postmodernism, as I see it, is that proponents of the latter tend to have a bigger sense of humor.

Having defined postmodernism that way, I would say that the movement reached its height several years ago. In the American academy, anyway, it is in a distinct decline. (In many institutions it never really took hold.) Fewer and fewer theorists take seriously "critical theory," one of postmodernism's principal contributions to intellectual thought. In art practice, the dissolving of boundaries between "high" and "low" that postmodernists often advocate has already done its job (for which I'm thankful) and has arguably begun to err too much in the other direction, i.e. toward extreme relativism. The pendulum swings back and forth, as it always does, so I suspect that whatever follows postmodernism will be (for better or worse) some renewed privileging of boundaries, categories, and values.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 04:40 am
@Shapeless,
Thanks shapeless, that was really helpful.
Maybe my definition was wrong. Perhaps a better definition would be, based on the information you gave that it was a CONTINUATION (and possibly increasment) of irony, celebration of superficiality, etc. But a RENOUNCEMENT or reordering of values, and a different attitude towards complexity and structure.

I agree that perhaps relativism has gone too far.
It will be interesting to see what the re-ordering of values comes too.

Oh and I'm sure you'll be glad to know I've been feeling loads better about my course and about composition recently. Thank you for your help shapeless!
OGIONIK
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 11:35 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
this reminds me of some group of people, a group said by one man ( not direct quote) to be the most hideous minds ever???

dmanit i cant recall, totally fits the description in soem respects.

can anyone tell me what this group was?

they did art to be ugly, they renounced art, by doing it i guess.

stupid memory, dont failz me nowwww!!!!
0 Replies
 
OGIONIK
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 11:37 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
oh yeah, thank you for that word composition, i couldnt remember it for the life of me.

yay now i forgot the other word i wanted to know, related to that word.

weird, lately my memory has been very shifty, ic ant recall one word without forgetting the other.

brad pitt, and the guy from pirates of the carribean.

johnny depp.
i had to google it. wtf is wrong with me?

composition and... ummm PERSPECTIVE????

damnit i cant recall the damn wrod stupid mind i hate it.
OGIONIK
 
  0  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 11:39 pm
@OGIONIK,
[email protected]

YES dun dun dundundun DUNN!!!!

The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2008 01:56 am
@OGIONIK,
Ogionik are you on something?

Maybe you're thinking about the dada movement?
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2008 08:01 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
I know terms are only 'termed' after the events occur, but I wondered if anyone had any ideas about what might happen now?
I can't see it.


As I understand it post-moderism consists of calling into question the power of institutions such as colleges, museums and galleries to bestow value, both monetary and of social cachet, on objects by simply separating them, framing them by the institutions, outside of profane objects. Rendering them sacred so to speak.

These art institutions attribute such things as rarity, authenticity, originality and uniqueness to their chosen objects simply by the act of them having been chosen by their hierarchies, the priesthoods, and thus mystifying them in contrast to ordinary objects which are deemed common. A pile of bricks, say, takes on a numinous tone, which bricks on a building site don't possess, merely by placing them within the gallery's frame. A more or less hidden arrangement of networks, possibly based upon sexual favours, exists to promote the credibility of the mystification.

Such an idea asserts that art is an autonomous system within but separated from the wider culture and, as the galleries and colleges and suchlike are ex-construction sites and connected to utility services deriving from such things as oil wells and coal mines, agriculture and political patronage, dependent on that wider culture for their very existence.

Post-modernism questions this elitism and seeks to devalue the "frame". It says, or ought to, that everything is art or nothing is. It asks how can a self-selecting hierarchy of mystifiers, and their lickspittals and lackeys, have the legitimate power to bestow sanctity and value upon objects it has itself chosen. The cancellation of the Haacke showing in 1971 by the Guggenheim Museum for political reasons and the same artist's Manet: Projekt'74 being refused by the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne brings these matters into high relief.

One might go so far as to say that art colleges, galleries and all the rest is a sort of religion providing a tautological system of human social relations, likely of a sexual nature at bottom, designed to bestow honour and repute on people who feel that it is beneath their dignity to engage in economic activity proper. It is, of course, something of a fiendish complexity wherein money, status and sex are the prominent considerations and antithetical to art which is, essentially a manifestation of the creative energy of any individual and not just that of those who have been awarded diplomas.

What will happen now is unpredictable. As Andy Warhol said that money rules art now, is art now, we had better watch the stock markets to hazard a guess at future manipulations.

The irony Queenie mentions is probably a forced one and nothing but a pose mounted by bourgeois twits as a style choice and nothing to do with the sort of irony to be found in comics such as those Checkov cut his teeth on where everything is a laughing matter resulting from an advanced corrosive cynicism. Our very own VIZ is a case in point although it has been toned down recently.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2008 03:22 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
Oh and I'm sure you'll be glad to know I've been feeling loads better about my course and about composition recently. Thank you for your help shapeless!


Glad to hear it, Queenie. Cool
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2008 03:32 pm
@Shapeless,
Composition consists of placing various objects in certain positions in relation to each other whilst effecting a deeply serious mien and then cranking the teleology machine up.

Post-modernism is related to finding a way to back out of the dark tunnel in a dignified manner once the dead-end was reached. (It seems to me.)

spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Oct, 2008 12:28 pm
@spendius,
I feel I ought to declare an interest. I am a post-modernist. I wouldn't wish anybody to think I was being objective in my above remarks.

Least of all Queenie.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 02:37 pm
@spendius,
Thank you for your posts spendius- I found them extremely interesting, although I'm finding it hard to come up with a response.
I am a post-modernist also, in terms of the rejection of the cultural authorities.
John Cage said 'If we celebrate it, it's art, if we don't it isn't'
It is our definition of something as art, and therefore its separation from the everyday that creates it as such.
Conditioning occurs because it becomes established, we are used to seeing it in certain forms.

The irony I was talking of is probably just an ingrained part of a current subculture that people use to pull one over on each other.

I agree with Shapeless in that what will come next is a re-formulation of certain values.
I think that cultural organisations still hold the authority on the definition of art- it was even easier to achieve in the post-modern period than the modern as art became value-less and was achieved by the sole act of celebration. (?)

spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 06:14 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
Thank you for your posts spendius- I found them extremely interesting, although I'm finding it hard to come up with a response.


If that happens in real life Queenie simply gaze into his eyes with a sort of half-assed expression of wonder and awe. Discover real irony.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 05:46 pm
Excellent posts, all. I see post-modernism as no less "serious" and constructed as I do the frameworks set up by modernists. The former's attemps to eradicate elitism and mystification reveals a new kind of the same. Its irony is very serious, of course. frankly, I find the seriousness of modernism so much more genuine and productive of "art."
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 06:28 pm
@JLNobody,
That's very interesting JLN. Could you explain why you find the seriousness of modernism so much more genuine and productive of "art."

I'm all ears.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 05:36 pm
@JLNobody,
I enjoy everything you post JL.
Do you think that elitism could ever be eradicated from art? If art is considered separate from life, assuming a 'higher' status, then surely elitism is a natural by-product.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 05:47 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Oh no Queenie.

It might be the case with art defined by the Art's Council or the Culture Minister but real art is not elitist at all. It is not separated from life. How could it be. It is an expression of life.

I know that The Unmade Bed is phoney because it's no different from The Unwashed Dinner Plate and I do one of them everyday. And it doesn't take a fitful tossing and turning for 8 hours to do them either.

Elitism is the ONLY factor in bureaucratic "art". Know thy place girl.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 04:59 pm
@spendius,
Ok.
You might have to give me a bit more spendy. I much prefer your 'expression of life' over my 'separation from life' indeed, the second is much more my idea of art...
The only thing is if we start classifying things as 'real' art and 'not real' art then surely we're just building another framework?
I understand your point about the bed- in my opinion Emin's work looses interest because it is too subjective and doesn't say anything very intelligent.
Elitism then must be more a by-product of the artistic bureaucracy?
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 06:25 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Well Queenie, and btw you are not a retard, the framework of the artistic bureaucracy could well be an art form itself and thus an expression of life. A ballet of highly attenuated egos.

The question would then be whether this expression of life was of positive or negative value in the Darwinian sense of economics being the science of survival.

Those inside the tent, a loose and large conglomeration of arty-farty types, the components of which can be identified by their social contacts in various networking patterns, from a drink in a pub up to an invite to a dinner party where the Minister of Culture, the Art's Correspondent of the Sunday Times, a cultural attache from The Russian Embassy and an expert in Post-Moderism from Soetheby's are fellow guests.

Those outside the tent are not so sure about that but allow any negative views to be inhibited by the fear of the loss of amusement which would ensue were it to start running on the spot or, perish the thought, become defunct.

We would rather enjoy seeing it disappear, like the mythical Ouegie-oeugie bird, up its own arse, but then what would we do. It doesn't bear thinking about.

Consider that my young lady.
 

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