Postmodern Art Essays

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Postmodernism can also be a project, revealing the cultural constructions we designate as truth and opening up a variety of repressed other histories of modernity.

Such as those of women, homosexuals and the colonised.

Daniel Palmer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

I once asked a group of my students if they knew what the term postmodernism meant: one replied that it’s when you put everything in quotation marks.

It wasn’t such a bad answer, because concepts such as “reality”, “truth” and “humanity” are invariably put under scrutiny by thinkers and “texts” associated with postmodernism.

Postmodernism is often viewed as a culture of quotations. The very structure of the television show quotes the classic era of the family sitcom.On the contrary, it is often associated with pluralism and an abandonment of conventional ideas of originality and authorship in favour of a pastiche of “dead” styles.The shift from modernism to postmodernism is seen most dramatically in the world of architecture, where the term first gained widespread acceptance in the 1970s.The difficulty of defining postmodernism as a concept stems from its wide usage in a range of cultural and critical movements since the 1970s.Postmodernism describes not only a period but also a set of ideas, and can only be understood in relation to another equally complex term: modernism. Postmodernism is best understood as a questioning of the ideas and values associated with a form of modernism that believes in progress and innovation.The city of Las Vegas became the ultimate expression of postmodern architecture.Theorists associated with postmodernism often used the term to mark a new cultural epoch in the West.While the misadventures of its cartoon characters ridicule all forms of institutionalised authority – patriarchal, political, religious and so on – it does so by endlessly quoting from other media texts.This form of hyperconscious “intertextuality” generates a relentlessly ironic or postmodern worldview.American conceptual artist Barbara Kruger’s statement that she is “concerned with who speaks and who is silent: with what is seen and what is not” encapsulates this broad critical project.The discourse of postmodernism is associated with Australian artists such as Imants Tillers, Anne Zahalka and Tracey Moffatt.


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