Friday, 23 September 2011

Postmodernism - V&A

i-D, no 28. The Art Issue, August 1985. Styled by William Faulkner, design by Terry Jones, photograph by Nick Knight, featuring Lizzy Tear
 Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970-1990 will be at the V&A 24 September 2011-15 January 2012.
Postmodernism, notoriously tricky to define, can be understood as a 'cultural condition' which arguably affected (infected?) every area of life from popular culture to philosophy, from identity politics to literature;  understandably, this exhibition takes a narrower perspective on the phenomenon, focusing in particular on architecture, design and popular culture, but including some examples of fine art, too. (Though it is, perhaps, ironic to make such a distinction: There are no longer any agreed and inviolable criteria which can serve to differentiate art from popular culture. - Strinati, D. (1995) "An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture", Routledge, p225. Discuss.)

The exhibition has provoked a flurry of articles and reviews including, review by Adrian Searle, Postmodernism: the 10 key moments in the birth of a movement, by Stuart Jeffries, Postmodernism is dead, by Edward Docx, All style, hidden content by Patrick Hannay, and Has postmodernist design eaten itself?, by Justin McGuirk. See also Neon Light, a short video in which Sarfraz Manzoor visits the exhibition and taks to the curators.
Below is a selection of examples believed to be included in the exhibition.
The demolition of Pruitt-Igoe mass houing complex in St Louis in 1972, which Charles Jencks cited as the moment at which Modernism died and which thus heralded Postmodernism. Film of the demolition is included in Godfrey Reggio's 1982 'postmodern' film (with soundtrack by Philip Glass), Koyaanisqatsi, which is featured in the exhibition.
Bill Woodrow, Twin-Tub with Guitar, 1981 (Tate Collection)
April Greiman and Jayme Odgers, Wet magazine
Michael Graves (for Alessi),  Kettle, 1983
Haim Steinbach, Supremely Black, 1985
Jenny Holzer, Protect Me From What I Want, (Times Square Spectro Billboard) 1982

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