The Main Theories Of Postmodernism Cultural Studies Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

What is attractive. What is art. Subsequently art can no longer be generalised on culturally-constructed ideas of beauty, what remains. For postmodernism, irony is the most primitive value. To mock and shock is what great postmodern art primarily does.

I am interested in exploring it Postmodernism and understanding it in more depth specifically the theoretical side and what made the pioneers of postmodern. I want to understand modernism in more detail, to help refine my opinion and to learn more. I have always been intrigued by post modern art, from Andy Warhol to, the architecture in the Las Vegas to the outrageous and risqué pieces that I have seen in galleries. I appreciate the witty humour behind the art its far more engaging as it challenges you as an audience. I am going to cover the where it originated from who was the influences and look at a few case studies to looking in more detail at some famous piece to try and decipher more about postmodern art.

The term postmodern was first applied, around 1971, an innovative architectural style that combined old, classical forms with modern pragmatism. To understand Postmodernism I must first unravel the meaning of Modernism. It is a movement that permeated many disciplines, including painting, sculpture, and literature. It was influenced by politics, scientific and technological innovation. The aim was to disperse from old traditions and break the boundaries of bottled up creativity. Modernists renowned the talents and capabilities of mankind intelligence, imagination, and creativity and didn't yield to traditional limits. Modernism began around 1860-1970 with Post-Modernism following that. Modernism defines a very assorted, vast collection of the arts and associated disciplines. With each phase of the movement attempting to do something former people had not. Postmodernism on the other hand.The aims of Postmodernism originate with its reaction to Modernism; it tries to address the limitations of its antecedent. The intention is to communicate concepts and thoughts with the public often in an entertaining or witty way. Often, the communication is done by intextual referencing and quoting extensively from past often numerous styles at once, breaking away from modernism by constant reference to the past. This movement is not called 'antimodernist' because it is not

a dismissal of modernity it's an effort to combine the best of the modern world with the finest origins and traditions of the past.Marcel Duchamp, 'Fountain' 1917, replica 1964

Critics of postmodernism dislike the way that postmodern aesthetics rejects socialist realism. They preach that image is everything and nothing is substantial. This helps to explain why "Fountain" is so highly commended. I for one have been to modern museums of art, and am a regular visitor of the Tate and seen the rather dismal geometric shapes painted onto canvases that are, at best, somewhat interesting. Postmodern art's real power

comes from engrossing the receiver of the art to query their assumptions about what "art" is. Postmodern art influences the reader to deconstruct their habitual approaches of analysing art.

I have selected Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain", for my example of postmodern artwork. Put onPablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, o/c, 1907 (MoMA)

display in 1917 as "serious artwork". Signed by Duchamp in the name of the company that produced the urinal his conventional white porcelain urinal caused a pandemonium. In 2004 five hundred leaders in the art world voted it "the most influential work of modern art", beating out Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon"

The exhibition enabled artists of any medium to enter their work, the idea behind the urinal was literally a "Piss" take, my interpretation is that is the reason that he chose the urinal as the object he could have chosen anything yet the urinal made sense as it did literally take the piss. Duchamp made a statement by basically saying as long as it is 'signed it is art' completely unrelated to the artist as a person. What differentiates this piece from modernist design is that to Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon a modernism piece that relates to Picasso's own personal experiences of a group of prostitutes his style was a form of cubism and the faces resemble African masks. The prostitutes grouped near where he resided the African masks represent his intimidation towards them. Modernism explores news styles and techniques which is clear with Picassos painting. Post modernism is contemporary rather than creating a new movement they are questioning new styles and visiting old styles and settings this compelled audiences to question Duchamp's art work and in so doing influenced the next two generations of artists. The question remains, though: is it art, or is it really something else? Why should art be considered a masterpiece why can't art just be something simple and unique that no one has thought of, something completely random with no relevance.

The critics aside, I am just a regular person when I saw Duchamp's fountain, my initial reaction was what is that! But after the initial shock I adjusted and came to the conclusion that I quite liked it. Something so simple and unique was far more interesting that just looking at a canvas with painted dots and lashes of paint in different colours.

Piss Christ is another piece of art to cause quite a stir.

"The thing about the crucifix itself is that we treat it almost like a fashion accessory. When you see it, you're not horrified by it at all, but what it represents is the crucifixion of a man," Serrano told the Guardian. "And for Christ to have been crucified and laid on the cross for three days where he not only bled to death, he shat himself and he peed himself to death." Ref: Serrano.

"So if Piss Christ upsets you, maybe it's a good thing to think about what happened on the cross."

We can see it again, traditional icon, new and interesting interpretation. Being a Christian myself I was slightly provoked by the image but once I had an understanding of the artist's intent my view on it changed immediately. I think it's actually very unique and charming, I can see beyond the boundaries and have open mind. The artist has made the piece very personal to himself there is nothing wrong with that. It's not at all offensive but unfortunately this work was damaged due to religious belief it was sabotaged in the exhibit. The fact

that this work remains to draw controversy on both sides of the political, social and religious aisles unfortunately overshadows the artist's intention, which is to engage the viewer on both a visual and intellectual level.

Postmodernists believe 'irony' itself beautiful they therefore consider these things "art". And yet if we remove shock, neither "Piss Christ" nor "Fountain" offers any other evocative emotional response, because neither "Fountain" nor "Piss Christ" has any inherent beauty at all. The postmodern critic shrugs his shoulders at that observation and asks, "What is beauty, anyway? Why has art got to be beautiful anyway if all pieces were beautiful they would be no way of defining them? We'd become numb to the beauty of over exposure. I always think it's nice to throw something else into the mix to spice things up a bit and the postmodern artwork had definitely succeeded in this? Does anybody really relish looking at shapes on a canvas? I for one definitely don't .I look for something that amuses me of questions me. Art has developed an inside joke about an inside joke that less and less people are interested in. Every time I visit a gallery I witness a decreasing incline of effort in artwork. True art leaves you gasping, astounded, pondering, perhaps even horrified. So "Piss Christ" and "Fountain" have equal chances of being considered "art" it's all down to opinion art is for everyone.

I have looked in detail about the originality and growth of postmodernism; we've looked at opinion of critics and people that embrace the movement. I for one am a believer in anything that new and unusual that is brought to the table, I won't answer the barbed question of what is art but I would give my interpretation if I had more time to do so. I would have liked to compare more postmodernist artwork with modernist work but I feel as I have captured the notion and purpose of postmodernism; I believe there are many glitches in postmodernism, it is idealistic impractical and woolly-headed but is only a movement there is no harm in it why should artwork be masterpieces that took hours to create, postmodernists adapt and alter with the time, they move forward in a way that utilizes the insights of the past and are forever surprising and shocking us.