Lecture 5- Post modernism and Photography. The crisis of the real.

In lecture 5 we looked at the post-modernism movement and how it was a reaction from those who didn’t comply or agree with the modernist way. Although it implies that the movement was after modernism, in reality it was during the same period in time, starting just after World War 2 with pop art.

It differs from modernism in many ways, such as:

  • moving the boundary between art and everyday life,
  • Collapsing the distinction between high culture and pop culture
  • not recognising the authority of any single style of what art should be.

It wasn’t a stylistic movement, and it constantly questions whether the next step is always a good thing, and challenges any meaning an artist has said their work represents, the whole idea of post modernism is for the viewer of the art work to come up with their own feelings about it. This brings me onto one of the key aspects of the movement which is scepticism. With people making their own mind up about art work, it also lead to the belief that things went always as good as perhaps originally thought. It was key to understand that there are differences in art work, with no one medium being the correct one. The medium was almost irrelevant, with the ideas coming first, with the artist then choosing which medium would suit. This allowed creativity to flow, unlike the more rigid modernism movement. Another key aspect was appropriation, this was all about using another art work, in your own work but using it slightly differently. Although not necessarily original the works where an updated version of what went before. Jeff Wall was a big advocate of this style recreating works in photographs from the likes of Hokusai.

There came a point which Danto called the end of art. Of course it wasn’t the of art at all, but with the likes of Andy Warhol’s work on Brillo boxes, there became no more boundaries to cross. It became the end of art history, and isms. No direction was better than another, artists started to do what they wanted, causing the art world to blossom.

Many artist were influenced by post Modernism, such as Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons, who questioned how the world saw Women not just in art but in everyday life, to Sherrie Levine who re-photographed Walker Evans work, as a way of showing how feminism can hi-jack the patriarchal authority.

Overall the movement in response to Modernism, had a huge influence on the world of art, and popular culture, and has led to the creation of some of best art works known.



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