What is Post-Modernism?
Postmodernism is a term applied to a wide-ranging set of
developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art,
literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as
either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding,
An attitude or trend of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, in which
artists and architects accept all that modernism rejects and the
many stylistic reactions to, and developments from, modernism.
Postmodernism may appear as the ultimate phase of modernism; it
expresses what may happen in art after the modernist project
appears to have ended. It is characterised by an ability to use a
vocabulary of media, genres or styles as parts of an extended
visual language that goes beyond the boundaries of what is usually
thought of as the modernist project. Postmodernism is, by its very
nature, impossible to define clearly. Some of the best expositions
appear in the theoretical writings of Jean Baudrillard, who
concludes that what motivates art historical change is not any
'authentic' or 'original' impulse, but simply fashion, pivoting on
the desire for novelty, which he sees as an organic and integrated
Postmodern style is often characterized by eclecticism,
digression, collage, pastiche, and irony. Postmodern theorists see
postmodern art as a conflation or reversal of well-established
modernist systems, such as the roles of artist versus audience,
seriousness versus play, or high culture versus kitsch. Post-Modern
is characterized by an acceptance of all periods and styles,
including modernism, and a willingness to combine elements of all
styles and periods. Although modernism makes distinctions
between high art and popular taste, Post-Modernism makes no such
Modernism was a series of cultural movements during a period
between 1884-1914. These movements had a big effect on life as know
it and the phrase modern is still used today with regards to being
"up to date". This goes to show you how popular these movements
were and still are in arts and science.
Post-Modernism is simply the schools of thought developed
after this period, up to this very day. Most post-modern thought is
regarded to be derivative, reacting to or superseding modern
The term was coined in 1949 to describe a dissatisfaction with
modern architecture, leading to the postmodern architecture
Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein
As a term Postmodernism is difficult to define as it covers a
wide range of disciplines and general areas of thought. These
include art, architecture, literature and technology. There are
however a number of central characteristics that help us to
understand the foundations of the postmodern.
Firstly, like modernism, postmodernism rejects all boundaries.
This rejection also includes the boundaries between different forms
and genres of art. The art development of bricolage and pastiche
are examples of this.
Secondly, there is a concentration on fragmentation and
discontinuity as well as ambiguity. The postmodern focuses on a
de-structured, de-centered humanity. What this really means is that
the idea of disorder and fragmentation, which were previously seen
as negative qualities, are seen as an acceptable representation of
reality by postmodernists. Modernism considered the fragmented
view of human life as bad or tragic, while postmodernists rather
celebrate this seemingly meaningless view of the world. It is
an acceptance of the chaos that encourages a play with meaning.
Postmodernism also accepts the possibility of ambiguity. Things and
events can have two different meanings at the same time. A more
rigid rational and logocentric or linear approach tries to avoid or
reduce ambiguity as much as possible. Postmodern thought sees
simultaneous views not as contradictory but as an integral part of
the complex patterning of reality.
Post-Modernism is the art movement that followed Modernism in
the later portion of the 20th Century. Post-Modernists generally
criticize Modernism in favor of complexity and eclecticism in
architecture and art.