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What does postmodernity do to art?

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3. What does postmodernity do to art? Module code: SE3101 Student number: 0304705 Module title: Postmodernity I As a topic that has been repeatedly and exhaustively debated in recent years there are many theories circulating as to what postmodernism's real definition is. Although still largely undecided it is possible to isolate guidelines as to what cultural forms can be considered postmodern and what effects postmodernism has had on our culture. As knowing subjects we can identify postmodernism's impact on art; possibly a cultural area where its impact has been most profound. In contrast to film, literature and other cultural forms the most famous pieces of art are usually the ones considered to be the most innovative and, therefore, at least in the artistic world, postmodernism has been thrust into the mainstream. Jean-Francois Lyotard wrote 'The Postmodern Explained to Children: Correspondence 1982-1985' (1992) in which he made considerable attempt to define what postmodernism is and its role in culture and society. In this he stated that 'simplifying to the extreme...I define postmodern as incredulity towards metanarratives'. ...read more.


This then led to realism which, according to Lyotard (1992) orders and stabilises the referent allowing them to decode it easily and become aware of their 'own identities and of the approval they thereby receive from others'. This can now be contrasted with contemporary art. Whereas realism relied on presenting and ordering the presentable from a certain view, art then began to aim to present the unpresentable. Berger cited in McGuigan (1999) sums up the contrast between realism and subsequent forms of art preceding the postmodern. Stating that renaissance art reflected reality as if with a mirror, cubism replaced this with a 'diagram' - a symbolic representation of invisible processes, forces and structures '[aiming] to arrive at a far more complex image of reality than had ever been attempted in painting before.' This reflects how art changed over the years to reach its current position. What we may consider postmodern. One of the established definitions of postmodern is the convergence of styles, old and new. 'Bricolage', defined as 'borrowing, mixture, hybridity, even plagiarism - all "despised" practices in high modernist science and knowledge systems became the bricoleur's trademark and postmodernism's signature line', according to John Hartley (2002). ...read more.


There is also evidence of life imitating postmodern art as not only have the boundaries of art forms been blurred but also those of gender given Perry's role as a transvestite. Therefore, not only have art forms converged with each other, but also with life itself as Perry places himself in his work. Postmodernism has, consequently, caused art to become increasingly reflective of everyday life, calling what we know as knowing subjects into question along with existing rules and possibilities and uniting forms of life and culture, past and present. However, their very nomination, according to some, could negate their categorisation as postmodern. Lyotard (1992) stated that for a cultural form to have purchasing power it must be therefore accepted by society and, therefore, not be postmodern. Unfortunately, this contradictory nature makes it difficult for one to tell for sure what may or may not be postmodern. Cornelia Parker's work 'Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View' (1991) embodies another aspect of the postmodern, one which many more pieces of earlier years have attempted to do, which is to present the unpresentable. She attempted to present something which occurs in a moment and then is gone. ...read more.

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