what the fuck is post modernism? an explanation
Is it possible to talk about a post-post-modernism in terms of visual culture?
“Modernity killed every night.”Â
Quote from Jacques Vache printed above 430 Kings Road (Vivienne Westwood’s Let it Rock store)
Postmodernism, as a continuation of modernism is a different kind of break with the past; rather than destroying the past, it rearranges it and makes use of it for its own innovative purposes. Can it still exist? Popular culture writer Simon Reynolds writes, pessimistically, that in terms of culture in general, “the avant-garde has become the arriere-garde.”Â Does this mean that postmodernism is dead, or simply that postmodernism as a concept has had its place in the artistic world for so long that it can no longer be classed as avant-garde? The idea of postmodernism as a fixed part of artistic history is problematic in itself, which creates further problems for the term “postmodern.”Â A 2011 V&A museum postmodernism exhibition came in for some heavy criticism for just this reason ”â preserving postmodernism as a historical movement? Were does it begin? Were did it end? More, still what is it? The term is loose and difficult. But if postmodernism is fixed in time, perhaps our only option is to talk about a post-post modernism.
The critic Micheal Robinson has pointed out that, at the point of postmodernism, “developments in linguistics and philosophy were beginning to ”Ëdeconstruct’ the central assumptions of modernism.
Was there any such thing as transcendent “truth”Â, or essential being? Were our perceptions, our feelings, our very selves, anything more than “constructs”Â of the words we use to describe and express them? These are some of the questions which help to define postmodernism.
Of course, like anything with the prefix, “post,”Â it is partly defined by what came before it. In culture, unlike in history, something being “post”Â is not just a case of it being merely after. It takes the ideas of what preceded it and progresses them. (For example, poststructuralist intellectual thought advances, but also feeds off, structuralist thought, and punk music was the launchpad for the more innovative and complex postpunk.) So, before delving into “postmodernism”Â, how best to define “modernism”Â? Firstly, the word “modern”Â comes from the Latin “modo,”Â meaning “just now.”Â
To be modernist is to capture the moment.
This goes against classical Western culture, which sees the present as an extension of the past. Art critics generally agree that modernism is a break with the past. The eighteenth century had seen the Enlightenment, and the nineteenth century had seen eclection and technological innovation.
Modernism continued by sweeping away tradition. The birth of “high modernism”Â marked its peak as we moved into the golden age of the avant-garde. The avant-garde can be as difficult to pin down as modernism ”â for example, it is often defined by its progressive political thinking on the left, but the fascist-leaning tendencies of groups like the Futurists and the Vorticists ruin this general preconception.
In spite of this, such groups as still important. The first Futurist manifesto (one of many from them) is one of the sternest and most attention grabbing of all time ”â it includes such points as “we wish to glorify war”Â, “any work of art that lacks a sense of aggression can never be a masterpiece”Â and “we believe that this wonderful world has been further enriched by a new beauty, the beauty of speed.
A racing car, its bonnet decked with exhaust pipes like serpents with galvanic breath”Â¦a roaring motorcar, which seems to race on like machine gun fire, is more beautiful than the Winged Victory of Samothrace.”Â1This is exemplified in definitive Futurist paintings such as Giacamo Ballo 1913 work “The Speed of An Automobile,”Â which carries the image of a speeding car to the borders of abstraction in a Futurist attempt to capture what they saw as the universal “vitalising”Â principle. Micheal Robinson points out that this is a painting fitting with a time in which “moving pictures were being made for the first time”Â¦this was an area were scientific and artistic interests collided.”Â
Over in Britain the Vorticist movement often attempted to deny Futurism’s influence, but shared much of its mechanical aggression. Their 1914 manifesto, published in BLAST by its editor (a shameless self-publicist) and leading Vorticist, Percy Wyndham Lewis, says that “machinery is the greatest Earth-medium.”Â Wyndham Lewis own paintings, such as “Alchiblades,”Â also have a mechanical feel. Its subject is actually the Athenian statesman of the title, who had been ostracised and sent into banishment as a traitor, but the pen and ink wash crates a stark, mechanical feel, with the perspective adding a sense of “the vortex,”Â so crucial to their work in general. Even Surrealism shared this mechanical vein to a point. So much is made of the famous eye-cutting scene which opens Luis Bunuel’s classic 1913 film “Un Chien Andalou”Â that the most important scene in terms of the wider story is often overlooked ”â the characters played by deriving sexual pleasure from a woman being hit and killed by an automobile. The action here happens slowly, keeping the dreamlike feel of both the film and Surrealisms wider aims, but also puts the machine at centre stage. As we shall go on to see, the developing technologies would go on to influence postmodernism as much as these modernist avant-garde art groups.
Like any artistic movement, High Modernism was eventually called into question.
Where modernism was about progress, optimism, rationality, agency and reflexivity, postmodernism was about sceptism, uncertainty, non-rationalism, loss of agency and critical distance. The late 1970’s and early 1980’s saw a growing number of commentators beginning to question the efficiency and intellectual coherence of High Modernisms progressive, rationalising project. To imply that this is the point which sparked postmodernism, however, would be a mistake. If postmodernism is “a rupture in continuity”Â to quote Clement Greenberg, then its critical history is even more so. Greenberg was writing in 1965, and for him modernism is more than art and literature. There is a Kantian use of characteristic methods, as he takes Kant’s ideas of progression via aesthetic experience. He uses “art to call attention to art”Â, a new manifesto which almost deconstructs Theophile Gaultiers old “art pour l’art,”Â notion.
In America, Greenberg is considered a Marxist critic but in the UK, he reads more like a conservative liberal. Modernism for him does not offer theoretical demonstrations but empirical ones, but is also as much about the technique of modernist painting, which he defines by its flatness. He also suggests that painting needs to purge itself of outside sources (such as music and photography) to be a specialisation.
Whilst modernism did tend to focus on specialisation, this does raise questions whether this is the way art should be treated ”â would much be neglected if we were to follow Greenberg’s lead? With the avant garde often being a part of radical politics, surely it can be more effective (and more democratic) if it opens its mind to other sources? Is there any place in Greenberg’s thought for witty artists like Marcel Duchamp, who help to define postmodernism? Greenberg has created quite a potential argument here which we shall revisit.
The later critic Frederic Jameson, writing from a Marxist intellectual background, moves his thought from the modernist into the beginning of the postmodernist. For him, the age in which he was writing (which he describes as a “postindustrial consumer society”Â) either “expresses”Â or “represses,”Â And were does modernism fit into this? For Jameson, it assumes a Newtonian, steady-state universe, with, as befits, a notion of “being in the present.”Â The postmodernist avant-garde, however, precedes our present by mapping the future. Many of the historical avant-garde will certainly have agreed with him ”â “avant-garde”Â translates as “go forward”Â and groups such as the Futurists (the clue is in the name”Â¦) mapped out a world ahead of ours.
The least radical modernism can do is break between the past and the present. The way Micheal Robinson references the “deconstructing,”Â of concepts in postmodernism also fits with Jameson’s decidedly Derridean influence. The fact that Jameson also comes from very much as Marxist intellectual background, so is likely to look at the economic perspective, but he was not the only one doing so. David Harvey was also looking at the profound shifts in the workings of economic infrastructure. But, in spite of Marx’s influence, it is Derrida who truly reigns supreme over Jameson’s thought, as he looks at the theory of practice in deconstructions “differeance,”Â (re enchantment.)
Another enormous theme in Jameson’s work is that of pastiche versus parody. For him, parody is no longer possible, as the authenticity or aura of the object of parody becomes uncertain. Instead, we have “blank”Â forms of parody or pastiche were imitation takes place but without any definite sense of departure from existing norms or conventions. But, in spite of Jameson’s reading, it would be a mistake to think that humour and parody are lost from postmodernist art ”â see Duchamp’s “Readymades,”Â almost a parody of the whole of Western art ”â the readymades took a swipe not only about what is art, but whose it is, whilst his work L.H.Q.Q predates both William S. Burroughs comments about throwing acid at the Mona Lisa and Situationist detournement, taking one of the most well-regarded paintings of artistic tradition and scrawling a moustache and crude slogan (translating as “she has a hot arse”Â) over it. Duchamp himself was clear about his intent of humour, saying that “humour and laughter are my tools ”â not necessarily derogatory derision ”âmy pet tools. This may come from my general philosophy of never taking the world to seriously ”â for fear of dying of boredom.”Â2
By the time of Jameson writing in the 1970’s, however, Duchamp was as established and well-loved as the artists he was parodying. The problem with talking about modernity lies in those Latin “modo”Â, “of the present”Â roots. How can something always be “of the present”Â?
In the same respect, how can something always be of the future? This is another problem with the term “postmodernism”Â ”â its golden age, and its birth, is defined differently everywhere. Picking up various books, one describes its birth as beginning in 1945, the next as being the 1960’s. The word postmodernism, meanwhile, can actually be traced back to 1934, when it was used by Frederico De Ornas, but not used again until 1984 with Arnold Toynbee’s “A Study of History.”Â
However, the sixties are a general starting point, with the work of Robert Venturi in the USA and Aldo Rossi in Europe. Venturi’s influential text “Complexicity and Contradiction in Architecture”Â is an attack on the “institutionalised corporate modernism of international style.”Â Its takes Miles Van Der Roehes well known phrase of “less is more”Â and launches an attack on it with his own detournment style phrase “less is a bore.”Â This doesn’t just go against van der Roehes, but Greenberg and his ideas of flat simplicity.
Venturi says that he rejects a “puritanically modern language,”Â in favour of “elements which are hybrid rather than pure”Â¦messy vitality”Â¦richness rather than clarity of meaning.”Â This sounds like just the sort of postmodernism which would horrify Greenberg, but is not a completely new sentiment, drawing on Cleas Odenburg declaration of five years earlier: “I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical ”â I am for an art that embroils itself with everyday crap and still comes on top,”Â which could almost be a manifesto for Duchamp’s Readymades if nothing else. But, as important as Venturi is, his thought applied strictly to architecture. Postmodernism can be spread into almost the whole of the arts ”â Jameson even makes a fleeting reference to punk and new wave music. But what Jameson fails to point out the impact of punk musics accompanying artists ”â whose techniques were sometimes more straightforward modernist, almost old-fashioned, in the wake of postmodernism.
One of the most highly regarded “punk artists”Â was Manchester’s Linder Sterling, who came to wide attention with her artwork for the band the Buzzcocks. The sleeve of their single “Orgasm Addict”Â in particular, was eye-catching and interesting; steeped in a funny, frightening feminism, predating the feel of the “Femorabilia”Â exhibitions by thirty years. It depicts a naked woman with an iron for her head and snarling teeth instead of nipples. Sterling, hugely influenced by Germaine Greer’s “The Female Eunuch,”Â had auto-cannibalised her theory of “the circular woman.”Â Later collages of Sterlings (such as her flyer for the gig “The Buzzcocks and Other Domestic Utensils,”Â with its catalogue images of domestic commodities and manicured hands) would continue the feminist, visually striking bent. The roots of such work can actually be seen in Richard Hamilton’s witty early pop-art piece “Just What Is It That Makes Todays Homes So Different, So Appealing?”Â
But what about the form such works take ”â collage? Is that really “postmodern”Â? Initially, it seems modernist. Fragments are a huge part of modernism, from the visual style of Picasso’s fragmented Guernica to its literary connotations (the collage’s James makes in Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse,”Â TS Eliots famous “these fragments are the shores against my ruin”Â¦”Â in The Waste Land). But the use of collage actually goes much further back, into the Victorian tradition ”â collage was the ultimate Victorian middle-class hobby. The way modernism revisited it was more in a fictionalised context”Â¦James in “To the Lighthouse,”Â cuts out images from catalogues, creating something which probably looked very similar to Linder Sterling’s works.
So, delving into the past to do something exciting is not modernist, with its defiant break with the past. And postmodernism argues with modernism, so that the label does not fit either. Is this the beginning of “post-post-modernism”Â? Or are the anomalies of that prefix “post”Â throwing this concept? The paradox of the prefix “post”Â was an issue for Lyotard ”â can postmodernism therefore be thought of as according to the prefix “post”Â as after modernism, as we addressed earlier? Modernisms retention of a sequential historical order gives way to a breakdown of historical spatio-temporal rationality.
Lyotard was writing at postmodernisms peak ”â in 1974, when he published “A Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge,”Â the postmodernist novelist Thomas Pynchon won the National Book Award for his novel “Gravitys Rainbow.”Â He writes that “status of knowledge is altered as societies enter what is known as the postindustrial age and cultures enter what is known as the postmodern age”Â¦scientific knowledge is a kind of discourse.”Â The role of the individual in this is considered, “a self does not amount to much, but no self is an island, each exists in a fabric of relations that is now more complex and mobile than ever before. Young or old, man or woman, rich or poor, a person is always located at ”Ënodal points’ of specific communications circuits, whatever they will be3.”Â So, were does this leave Lyotard’s key concern of knowledge? He writes “in the mechanism of developing a life that is simultaneously subject, we see a return of narrative knowledge. There is a universal “history of spirit, spirit is ”Ëlife’ and ”Ëlife’ is its own self-presentation and formulation in the ordered knowledge of all its forms contained in the empirical sciences”Â¦but what this produces is a metanarrative, for the storys narrator must not be a people mired in the particular positivity of its traditional knowledge,not even societies taken as a whole, since they are sequestered in professional frameworks corresponding to their respective specialities.”Â4
Lyotard’s work then, commissioned by the council of Universities of the Quebec Government, fundamentally deals with the problems of translation from one computer language to another, and these technological changes would have a major impact on knowledge. Perhaps postmodernism’s role, then, was to merge elements of the past with a more Ballardian, technological world. Those collage artists, Linder Sterling and Richard Hamilton, succeed in this to point, with their mix of old-fashioned domesticity and depictions of technological goods. By 1969, however, a new cultural, technology-friendly buzzword was emerging ”â industrial. The kings (and Queen) of this were COUM Transmissions”Â¦
Writing from an Eastern context, the critic Minolu points that modernist, avant-garde in the West seeks to subvert. COUM Transmissions certainly fulfil this -working long before the Tate’s famous “Sensationalism”Â exhibition, COUM Transmissions were at the time the most provocative thing the art world had ever seen. They were heavily influenced by the 1960’s art group Fluxus, who COUM Transmissions lead member Genesis P-Orridge (real name Neil Megson) describes as having an “admirable running battle and commentary with art itself,”Â something which recalls Greenberg’s comments on “using art to call attention to art.”Â
COUM Transmissions had grown out of a communal art group called Transmedia, who played around with perceptions, a concept that P-Orridge felt inclined to push further. “We need to search for methods to break the preconceptions, modes of unthinking acceptance and expectations that make us so vulnerable to Control,”Â he claimed. In his influential piece “Annihilating Reality”Â he also wrote the following:
“Hearsay:A new generation of performance artists has arrived. They use existing situations in order to actually affect society from the inside, to subliminally infiltrate popular culture aware of their perception as art but realizing their redundancy5.”Â
Along with the groups other members, Chris Carter, Peter “Sleazy”Â Christopherson and Cosey Fanni Tutti (real name Christine Carol Newby) they staged outlandish shows like 1972’s “The Alien Brain,”Â (featuring masturbation, double anal and vaginal sex between Tutti and P-Orridge with a double-edged vibrator, and P-Orridge sticking hypodermic needles into his testicles and then injecting the blood into a black egg, alongside giving himself and blood and milk enema and expelling the resulting liquid from his body onto the gallery floor) and 1976’s notorious “Prostitution”Â at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (which made heavy use of Tutti’s work as a pornography model and launched the collectives experimental, often disturbing music under the name Throbbing Gristle.6) Conservative MP Nicholas Fairban labelled them “the wreckers of civilisation”Â and questions were asked in Parliament. Is this postmodernist? Avant-garde? The fragments of the collectives own past are there, but they were simultaneously determined to break with the past. Particularly as Throbbing Gristle, they denied influences altogether. They made a lot of use of postmodernism in its most provocative forms in the Prostitution show ”â like a more extreme version on Duchamp’s take on the Mona Lisa in terms of detourning traditional ideas of artistic beauty, they stuck used tampons on the arms of the Venus De Milo, and also, in a piece called “Tampax Romana,”Â filled a vintage art deco clock with tampons. But the eschewing of influences (respect for Fluxus aside) means that if it is possible to talk about a post-post-modernism, then COUM Transmissions, working as early as 1969, are perhaps the beginning (albeit in a slightly skewed form to how we now treat the word) but their shock value has transcended the raising of this question.
Over the years, art has become increasingly “radical”Â, but perhaps not to the extent we can talk about a full post-post-modernist state ”â this is not really what the term is about. Artists like Martin Creed blend the nihilism of postmodernism with the simplicity of modernism, but the term “modern art”Â is sufficient. And then there is “remodernism”Â ”â a term which brings us not into a reflection of our current state, but looks backwards to traditional modernism, or even further back ”â and is applied to arriere-garde groups such as the Stuckists. The Stuckists are a Muswell Hill based-group who call for a return to traditional painting techniques and more old-fashioned ways of exhibiting. (Founded by Billy Childish and Charles Thomas, their 1999 manifesto includes the points “artists that don’t paint aren’t artists”Â and “post-modernism, in its adolescent attempt to ape the clever and the witty in modern art, has shown itself to be lost in a cul-de-sac of idiocy.”Â7
It certainly seems to be the ideas of modernism which have ended up prevailing, in spite of postmodernisms attempts to usurp it. For example, Takashi Murakami’s manifesto, published in the year 2000, has the title “The Super Flat Manifesto.”Â Whilst Clement Greenberg and his ilk would probably have taken issue with Murakami’s “post pop”Â aesthetic and consumerism bent (he has his own store of repackaged products), Murukami’s claims that “super flatness is the stage to the future”Â could have come straight from Greenberg’s own mouth. Does this leave the idea of postmodernism ”â supposedly responding were modernism failed ”â redundant, and what room does this leave exactly for a post-post-modernism? Of course, not all latter twentieth-century artistic thought sees modernism as a success. In 1984, Suzi Gablik published the oft-confrontational text “Has Modernism Failed?: The Instability of Art in Our Time.”Â Gablik was riding on popular art critic feeling of the 1980’s ”â the return to painting and sculpture in this period was a key part of postmodernism. Almost as an extension of the word, “postmodernism”Â, a lot of further prefixes and reconstruction (if not so much deconstruction”Â¦) of existing words appeared. Italy had the “Transavantgarde”Â (which included artists such as Clemente, Cucchi, Chia, Paladino and Nocola De Maria), whilst Germany saw the “Neo-Expressionists”Â (including Baselitz, Kiefer, Penck, and Lupert). Postmodernist art was forming its own language, filled with increasing artistic and semantic difficulties. Even dance was beginning to “get in on”Â postmodernism, with the first piece choreographed by Micheal Clarke appearing in 1984.To talk about a post-post-modernism complicates this further; but might it be necessary when looking at the wider state of art today?
In 1970, the art critic Peter Burger was talking about “the neo-avant-garde”Â in relation to what was basically postmodernism. Postmodernism since 1990, however, has become increasingly international, and since 2000 there have been attempts to further the term to make the current state of art relevant, hence the use of “post-post-modernism”Â and “metamodernism.”Â Pehaps metamodernism might be a better title to use due to its non-sequential nature, but it does have a more specific meaning. It was coined in 2010 by the cultural theorists Timotheus Vermalen and Robin Van der Akker as an intervention in the wider post-modernism debate. Their “Notes on Metamodernism”Â article asserts that the 2000’s are characterised by the emrgence of a sensibility that oscillates between, and must be situated beyond, modern positions and postmodern strategies. Metamodernism has its own vernacular almost as much as postmodernism in general, with terms such as “informed naivety”Â, “pragmatic idealism”Â and “moderate fanaticism,”Â but put simply it is a consistent repositioning between mindsets ”â neither modernism not postmodernism, but elements of them both. (Meta, it is worth noting, is a reference to Plato’s Metaxy, which intends a movement between opposite poles as well as beyond.)
In 1974, when Peter Burger was writing, we were arguably in the transit of postmodernism. Some of Burger’s writing also brings us back to Jameson, with that Marxist influence. To give it some context, the historical avant garde had a dislike of bourgeoisie autonomy, with its separation of art and life. They were pushing for a dialectic of thesis to antithesis. In Marxism, however, something else appears, the synthesis. The sublimation of art into life was a call to arms of the avant-garde. It could all to easily lose its critical distance, so Burger is arguing for a return to artistic autonomy. This may seem like the obvious conclusion of writing from a Marxist dialectic viewpoint, but in a post-deconstruction age which would remove the binary, this can make Burger appear a bit old-fashioned. Art is capable of both sublimation and autonomy. An artist can certainly act subversively by deconstructing capitalism ”â it is unsurprising that more postmodernist-rooted critics like Jameson and Foster take their intellectual cue from Derrida.
Foster talks about parlax and deferred action ”â if you shift your position, the view shifts.
Deconstructively shifting, we get a retroaction; a resistance to culturally dominant forms of retroversion.
So, were are we today? If we are in a state of post-post-modernism, however do we define it? Defining mere modernism and postmodernism has proved difficult enough. The simplest, most core principal of post-post-modernism is perhaps the desire to transcend postmodernisms “attempts at wit”Â so fiercely attacked in the Stuckist manifesto.
We have looked throughout this essay at possible candidates for artists who could be classed as “post-post-modern,”Â but as a definition has become clearer, and the term more widely used, it is easier to pinpoint those that could have this label ”â some have even used it themselves, like the landscape architect and planner Tom Turner. He argues for a post-post-modern turn in his own field, rejecting the flexible ideals of postmodernism, and saying that “the built environment professions are witnessing the gradual dawn of a post-post-modernism that’s seeks to temper reason with faith.”Â More specifically, Turner endorses the use of timeless organic and geometrical patterns, such as those used by the American architect Christopher Alexander.
Another key thinker on this issue is Ben Davis, with his influential essay on the theme. Davis begins his essay by citing a number of other thinkers. Following on from his own belief that “the conviction that the notion (postmodernism) means anything serious is now gone”Â he tells us “last year, relational aesthetics guru Nicholas Bourriard officially declared that we were now in a new era “altermodernism”Â. Svetlana Boym as called for a new movement, “off-modernism”Â to get around postmodernisms deadlocks. Rosalind Krauss has officially abandoned the position, in favour of ”Ëthe continuance of modernism.’”Â He then cites the aforementioned Hal Fosters more recent claims that “postmodernism has run into the sand.”Â Davis core issue with postmodernism is the same one we keep returning to; the muddy nature of its definition, which for him has “a lack of historical mooring,”Â and for him is purely idealist.
A term which does look at historical mooring is some way is another term for post-post-modernism, post-millenialism, introduced in 2000 by the American cultural theorist Eric Gans. We shall not focus on Gans to much as he is less concerned with visual culture and more with ethical, socio-political terms, but he makes some valid points. Postmodernism for him is derived from identifying with a peripheral victim, and disdaining the utopian centre occupied by a perpetrator. Post-millenialism instead turns to “non-victimry dialogue”Â that will “diminish the amount of resentment in the world.”Â
Perhaps a more relevant “post-post-modernist”Â expression for this particular essay, however, is “performatism,”Â also coined in 2000, by the German-American Slavist Raoul Esheman in his book, “Performatism, or The End of Postmodernism.”Â For Eshelman, works defined this epoch are constructed in such a way as to bring about a unified, aesthetically mediated experience of transcendence. Performatism does this by creating closed works of art that force viewers to identify with simple, opaque characters in situations and to experience beauty, love, belief and transcendence under particular, artificial conditions. He cites such examples as the Sam Mendes film “American Beauty,”Â a captivating mix of the dreamlike and the realist, and Sir Norman Fosters renovation of the Berlin Reichstag.
Many of the ideas classed as post-post-modernism seem faintly whimsical, from the quirky charm of Wes Anderson films to Micheal Clarke’s latest venture beyond the postmodern, an endearingly off-key ballet that took residence in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall. But there are more cynical schools of thought, too ”â in 2006, British scholar Alan Kirby introduced “psuedomodernism.”Â Like Lyotard, Kirby turns to technology, but technology is far more negative for him ”â it has given us instant but shallow participation in culture. He perhaps summarises the theory best when he says “in pseudo-modernism, one phones, clicks, presses, surfs, chooses, moves, downloads.”Â This is a viewpoint shared by Simon Reynolds when he says “the avant-garde has become the arriere-garde,”Â so, in a way nobody could have once predicted, is technology causing us to go backwards?
If this was not negative enough, he says its “typical intellectual states”Â¦are ignorance, fanaticism, and anxiety,”Â its “silent autism,”Â superseding “the neurosis of modernism and the narcissism of postmodernism,”Â and he sees no aesthetically viable works coming out of it.
Writers like Kirby and Reynolds have given us a lot to be negative about, but the truth is, whilst we may not be in a glory age of the avant-garde, we are still producing artistically interesting works, many of which could be called post-post-modern. But the term is sequential, and awkward, even more difficult to define than its predecessors. It, is however, also very established ”â the respected publication Adbusters recently entitled a whole issue “the post post modern issue.”Â It clearly is possible to talk about a post-post-modernism, but do we really want to? There are two ways to view this ”â with pessimism over the way some forms of the expression certainly encourage that “the avant garde is becoming the arriere garde,”Â or perhaps we should all follow Tom Turner’s urge ”â to “embrace post post modernism”Â¦and pray for a better name.”Â
Expressionism to Postmodernism ”â Styles and Movements in 20th century art, ed. Jane Turner, Macmillan Reference, 2000
Has Modernism Failed? Suzi Gablik 1984/2004 Thames and Hudson
Modern Art Micheal Kerrigan Flame Tree Publishing 2005
100 Artists Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists Selected by Alex Danchev Penguin 2011
The Duchamp Book Gavin Parkinson Tate Publishing 2008
The Return of the Real Hal Foster The MIT Press 1996
The Negation of the Autonomy in the Avant-garde Peter Burger in Postmodernism: A Reader ED Thomas Docherty London 1993
”ËModernist Painting’, Clement Greenberg in Frascina, Francis and Harrison, Charles (eds.), Modern Art and Modernism London; Paul Chapman, 1982
”ËThe Cultural logic of Late Capitalism’, in Postmodernism or, The Cultural; logic of Late Capitalism Frederic Jameson
London; Verso, 1991
The Postmodern Condition Jean-Francois Lyotard