Contemporary Art Essays

Contemporary Art Essays

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Contemporary Art: Dealing with Post-Modernity


− ”Art worlds consist of all the people whose activities are necessary to the
production of the characteristic works which that world, and perhaps others as
well, define as art. … By observing how an art world makes those distinctions
rather than trying to make them ourselves we can understand much of what
goes on in that world.... The basic unit of analysis, then, is an art world.”
- Howard Becker (Art Worlds)
Postmodernism deconstructs Modernism like Modernism deconstructed art
Like the Simpson's episode that explained Po-Mo as “weird for the sake of weird”,
Postmodernism accepted the philosophy “art for the sake of art”. A very free and
democratic practice, a natural response to the inhibiting Modernist intelligentsia. So
radical is this notion that it was banned in China during the Mao rule. Art after
Modernism became free to reference anything or nothing at all. It no longer needed a
meaning or idea.
It does not mean, however, that Postmodernism itself is free of Ideology. It is a
reaction to Modernism. It analyses and comments on it. Postmodernism rejects
meta-narratives of history, culture, and national identity that were present in
Modernist art. It rejects totalizing theories that are to explain the way people act and
the way the universe works, like the Freudian or Marxist views that science can
explain society. It rejects the concept of cultural unity, of equality, and the view that
one person can speak on behalf of humanity. Postmodernist art is skeptical of late
capitalism and the technological industrial progression. It critiques the concept of
“individualism”, and encourages people to consider multiple identities. It embraces
the concept of mul...


... middle of paper ...


...
the linear narrative of art history.


Works Cited:
Baudillard, Jean. “The Precession of Simulacra”. Translated by Paul Foss and Paul
Patton. New York: 1983.
Danto, Arthur. “The Journal of Philosophy”. Vol. 61, No. 19. American Philosophical
Association Eastern Division Sixty-First Annual Meeting. (Oct. 15, 1964). pp. 571-
584. Accessed online, 05/10/08.
Howard Becker. “Art Worlds”. Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California Press, 1982
Irvine, Martin. “Lectures, Essays, and Seminar Notes”. Georgetown University.
Accessed online, 05/11/08.
Jameson, Frederick. "Marxism and the Historicity of Theory." New Literary History
Accessed online, 05/12/08.
/StructuralistMarxism/Jameson/Jameson.htm>

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