5
   

Are we at the height of postmodernism?

 
 
Shapeless
 
  2  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 11:59 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
Does the characteristics of Berio's sinfonia render it resistant to a certain interpretation?


Not that I can see, but that's kind of a vague question. Do you have a specific kind of interpretation in mind?
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 01:28 pm
@Shapeless,
Can you jitterbug to it Queenie?
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 12:12 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
I'll add one more work to the list of quintessentially postmodern music: Terry Riley's In C. Though it is sometimes described as a conservative retreat from the progressive "avant-garde" works coming out of Darmstadt and Princeton, In C (along with the style it helped to create, minimalism) actually represents the first genuine avant-garde in 20th century classical music. Unlike Boulez and Babbitt, the minimalist composers actually came from outside the institution (meaning their musical style was not sanctioned by academia). This is one of most frequently (and, I think, deliberately) overlooked aspects of the Darmstadt and Princeton schools: for all that its composers presented themselves as progressively avant-garde, by the 1960s they represented the dominant paradigm of classical music, which ironically meant they now represented the conservative old-guard. The best illustration of this is in all the whining Boulez and Babbitt did in an effort to make their music seem as confrontational and anti-establishment as possible. The moment they began to care about their status as avant-garde artists, Boulez and Babbitt ceased to be avant-garde.

Similar to Berio, the minimalists are also among the first generation of composers for whom recordings were the primary method of musical dissemination, making them distinctly different from the composers of the past. This shows not only in their heavy use of recording technology in their pieces but in the general eclecticism of their styles: minimalists jump quite comfortably from classical idioms to pop idioms to non-Western idioms and back again. All of these styles were available to them in equal measure through recordings and, as a result, gave them a synchronic view of musical history altogether different from the linear, "evolutionary" model that their predecessors had inherited.

In C violates all sorts of modernist taboos, beginning with the sanctity of the artwork. If you've seen the score then you know that many basic details are not specified, such as the instrumentation, number of players, dynamics, tempo, or even the duration of the piece. The work can last five minutes or five hours, played by two musicians or an entire symphony orchestra. Every performance of the piece is different owing to the personal decisions that the performers are allowed to make.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Mar, 2009 12:18 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Smile
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 09:21 am
Spendius, previously I said that art was separate to life, and therefore it would naturally assume a higher, or hierarchical status, to which you corrected me by saying it wasn't, it was an 'expression of life'- an altogether more eloquent idea, yes I agree.

But, if art is an expression of life or humanity, then the hierarchy is part of it, because analysis, labeling and ordering are specifically human characteristics too. Surely the hierarchy makes it a more complete expression of humanity?
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 03:27 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
So long as it is made without any reference to the hierarchy or public opinion.

And then there is the matter of which hierarchy. Where is Chaucer's obvious delight in nature once evolution theory gets an airing? Nature's horrid. A killing field. Even the plants are starving other plants of precious light.

You can end up with the idea that everything made by man is art. Which is okay. The hierarchy is made by man and is thus itself art. And it battles for funds like plants battle for light. So it's horrid. So art's horrid. It's subject is death battles. It's own death battle with competing demands for the limited funds (light) such as feeding the starving millions.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 06:06 am
@spendius,
What about the hierarchy as in the formation of social order, rather than the hierarchy created by the need for funding?
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 09:00 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Do you mean the whole hierarchy?
0 Replies
 
Gargamel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 10:33 am
The thread at this point begs for some Hegelian perspective. Above Spendi seems to poke around (not saying you subscribe to it) Hegel's idea that the beauty (I realize this word adds another complication, but just go with it) of art is greater than that in nature, by virtue of art's originating in the human spirit. However, Hegel also defines art as an end in itself as apposed to a means of achieving another goal--i.e. tenure, sex with your students.

Just dipping my toes in the water here, but I agree with Hegel insofar as I'm comfortable arguing that social hierarchies are completely at odds with what I consider art. How many movements railed against social hierarchies, class specifically?
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 11:36 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
The Pentacle Queen wrote:
I think spendius is the master of digressions which aren't digressions.

Spendius is the personification of Dadaism.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 11:45 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
The Pentacle Queen wrote:
Horrid jumpers are fashionable because we wear then ironically. Massive fake glasses are cool for the same reason....

IMO, people who design fashion are artists. People who wear fashion are consumers.


The first person to wear a horrid jumper as a statement is an artist. The second person is an imitator. Everyone else is a poseur.


Find the people doing something original, or personally meaningful, and you'll find the real artists. People seeking popularity, fame, or simple attention aren't the real article.


Eschew conformity for conformity's sake.
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 12:08 pm
@DrewDad,
Quote:
The first person to wear a horrid jumper as a statement is an artist. The second person is an imitator. Everyone else is a poseur.

Find the people doing something original, or personally meaningful, and you'll find the real artists.


How easily does this notion transfer to the arts outside of fashion? Is the second person who used the sonnet form merely an imitator of the first one--making, for example, Giacomo da Lentini an artist, Philip Syndey an imitator, and William Shakespeare a poseur? So far as the genre of the symphony can be traced to any one particular origin, is Giuseppe Torelli a "real" artist, Johann Stamitz an imitator, and Haydn (to say nothing of Mozart or Beethoven) a poseur?
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 12:42 pm
I'm all confused now. I don't rate Hegel though. He thought the real to be rational and history to be right because it happened. Which led to untold harm. What happens is not the same as what ought to happen. That's a version of might is right and a Darwinian viewpoint. The fact that Darwinian preachers go wobbly at that is neither here nor there.

Nothing in nature is beautiful or ugly. It all just is. Art is artifice. A pretence.

Religion is a pretence. It pretends that we are not pointless, insignificant dirty-assed toss-pots. Restaurants are similar. That's why they have rituals on an ascending order of poshness. The nutritional values are the same as those of pig swill.

My basic claim, which Queenie is wrestling with, is that art bureaucracies are anathema to art. She is wrestling with that because she is going to get a diploma from an art bureaucracy to exchange for cash after she has jumped through all the hoops to the satisfaction of her tutors. That it is a racket and an honest racket uses guns not a large self-perpetuating gang of people formed up into overlapping circles bullshitting the readers of the newspapers with flowery sentences the meaning of which it is impossible to decipher but which can be repeated endlessly in arty-farty gatherings in the preamble to deciding who is shagging who tonight.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 01:18 pm
@Shapeless,
Shapeless wrote:

Quote:
The first person to wear a horrid jumper as a statement is an artist. The second person is an imitator. Everyone else is a poseur.

Find the people doing something original, or personally meaningful, and you'll find the real artists.


How easily does this notion transfer to the arts outside of fashion? Is the second person who used the sonnet form merely an imitator of the first one--making, for example, Giacomo da Lentini an artist, Philip Syndey an imitator, and William Shakespeare a poseur? So far as the genre of the symphony can be traced to any one particular origin, is Giuseppe Torelli a "real" artist, Johann Stamitz an imitator, and Haydn (to say nothing of Mozart or Beethoven) a poseur?

Did they make original statements? Then they're not poseurs. I'm talking about people who "say" the same thing. Don't mistake medium for message.

Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 01:24 pm
@DrewDad,
So if one can make a horrid jumper say something new, then it is not mere imitation or posing, no? I'm guessing you don't disagree with this. I'm wondering whether there is something about the stigma of fashion that causes us to conflate medium and message more easily than we would with other kinds of art.
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 01:25 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
art bureaucracies are anathema to art.


The fundamental dilemma of "high art" right now is that the history of those arts not only depended on bureaucracies before the 19th century but thrived under them, and that (in the case of music, for example, since it seems to be PQ's primary concern) bureaucratic constraints were a stimulus to creativity rather than a hindrance to it. The very concept of "high art," and especially that finicky word "high," depends on beliefs that have become discredited in recent culture: elitism, objective standards of value--things that no one had any problem asserting before the modern era (since those who were in a position to assert them--the audience for whom Haydn and Mozart's music was written, for example--never had to justify their authority to those who were not) but which we all purport to be against now. Even the concept of art made for consumption, which today strikes us as a contradiction in terms (if the comments in this thread are any indication), would not have raised an eyebrow before, say, the late 19th century, when consumers and elites started being two different things. And so artists who view themselves as heirs to the history of "high art" (and not as heirs to the supposedly more recent phenomenon of "entertainment") now find themselves in an environment no longer friendly to the conditions on which that glorious history depended. It seems like the only options now are to give up claims to that historical prestige or to reject the present conditions that are unfriendly to it, which means an artist must stop calling themselves an "artist" in the utopian sense that we all want it to mean, or to embrace the isolation that comes from being so. For better or worse, academia has proved to be a useful sanctuary for those who choose the latter; and so for all that artists may spurn bureaucracies and institutions, most "high art" traditions are now paradoxically (and, to hear my artist friends describe it, infuriatingly) dependent on those very bureaucracies and institutions for their survival.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 01:54 pm
@Shapeless,
One person made a horrid jumper something new. Then a bunch of people jumped (so to speak) on the bandwagon. I never said everyone that wore a horrid jumper is a poseur... just most of the people wearing horrid jumpers. And, no doubt, there are a few clueless schmucks wearing presents from their grandmothers....
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 03:11 pm
@DrewDad,
Ha... I don't doubt it.

One of the difficulties in discussing fashion as an art form is that it's very difficult to separate its aesthetic status from its functional status. To a lesser extent, architecture presents the same difficulty. I think most of us take it as a given that art is by definition something that exists for no reason outside itself--again demonstrating how different modern conceptions of art are from earlier conceptions. But any way you slice it, a building and an article of clothing have functional as well as aesthetic purposes, and sometimes the former will impose constraints on the latter. That's why it doesn't surprise me that the concept of postmodernism (to get back to the topic) revolved around architecture before it became associated with other arts.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Apr, 2009 05:30 pm
@Shapeless,
Very thoughtful shapie. I'll ponder that overnight.

On the "horrid jumper" idea I think it is a bit twee. A real artist would do horrid bloomers. Jumpers are so Marks and Spencers don't you think.
0 Replies
 
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 05:05 pm
@Shapeless,
Quote:
The fundamental dilemma of "high art" right now is that the history of those arts not only depended on bureaucracies before the 19th century but thrived under them, and that (in the case of music, for example, since it seems to be PQ's primary concern) bureaucratic constraints were a stimulus to creativity rather than a hindrance to it. The very concept of "high art," and especially that finicky word "high," depends on beliefs that have become discredited in recent culture: elitism, objective standards of value--things that no one had any problem asserting before the modern era (since those who were in a position to assert them--the audience for whom Haydn and Mozart's music was written, for example--never had to justify their authority to those who were not) but which we all purport to be against now. Even the concept of art made for consumption, which today strikes us as a contradiction in terms (if the comments in this thread are any indication), would not have raised an eyebrow before, say, the late 19th century, when consumers and elites started being two different things. And so artists who view themselves as heirs to the history of "high art" (and not as heirs to the supposedly more recent phenomenon of "entertainment") now find themselves in an environment no longer friendly to the conditions on which that glorious history depended. It seems like the only options now are to give up claims to that historical prestige or to reject the present conditions that are unfriendly to it, which means an artist must stop calling themselves an "artist" in the utopian sense that we all want it to mean, or to embrace the isolation that comes from being so. For better or worse, academia has proved to be a useful sanctuary for those who choose the latter; and so for all that artists may spurn bureaucracies and institutions, most "high art" traditions are now paradoxically (and, to hear my artist friends describe it, infuriatingly) dependent on those very bureaucracies and institutions for their survival.


Thanks Shapless, that was very insightful. Sorry I keep making appearances on these threads and then going off again.

Your post relates to a quote I read the other day, something like; 'The modernist world is riddled with nostalgia for the world it shatters.' I thought that was a pretty succinct way of putting it.
 

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