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Difference Between Postmodernism And Contemporary Art

The term "postmodernist art" refers to a wide category of contemporary art created from about 1970 onwards. The hallmark of "postmodernist art" is its rejection of the aesthetics upon which its predecessor - "modern art" (1870-1970) - was based. One of these rejected values is the idea that "art" is something "special" which should be "elevated from" popular taste. Coinciding with a raft of new technological developments, postmodernism has led to almost five decades of artistic experimentation with new media and new art forms, including "Conceptual art", various types of "Performance art" and "Installation art", as well as computer-aided movements like Deconstructivism and Projection art. Using these new forms, postmodernist artists have stretched the definition of art to the point where almost "anything goes".

Difference Between Postmodernism And Contemporary Art

What's the difference between postmodernist art and contemporary art? In practice, these two terms are more or less interchangeable. However, technically speaking, "postmodern art" means "after modern" and refers to a fixed period (say 50 years in length) beginning about 1970, whereas "contemporary art" refers to the moving 50-year period immediately before the present. At the moment these two periods coincide. But in 2050, for instance, "postmodern art" (1970-2020) will have been superceded by another era, while "contemporary art" will now cover the period 2000-2050. So the two will have diverged.

The characteristics of postmodernism, including bricolage, collage, appropriation, the recycling of past styles and themes in a modern-day context, and destruction of the barriers between fine arts, craft and popular culture, can be applied to sculpture. While inherently difficult to define by nature, postmodernism began with pop art and continued within many following movements including conceptual art, neo-expressionism, feminist art, and the young British artists of the 1990s. The plurality of idea and form that defines postmodernism essentially allow any medium to be considered postmodern. In terms of sculpture, characteristics like mixed media, installation art, conceptual art, video light art, and sound art are often regarded as postmodern.

Postmodern art replaced modernism and led the way to contemporary art. It emerged in the mid 20th century and lasted until the early aughts. As with every period in art history, it is not easy to give a very clear definition of postmodernism. However, some recurring attributes characterize this style of art.

The predominant term for art produced since the 1950s is "contemporary art". Not all art labeled as contemporary art is postmodern, and the broader term encompasses both artists who continue to work in modernist and late modernist traditions, as well as artists who reject postmodernism for other reasons. Arthur Danto argues "contemporary" is the broader term, and postmodern objects represent a "subsector" of the contemporary movement.[3] Some postmodern artists have made more distinctive breaks from the ideas of modern art and there is no consensus as to what is "late-modern" and what is "post-modern." Ideas rejected by the modern aesthetic have been re-established. In painting, postmodernism reintroduced representation.[4] Some critics argue much of the current "postmodern" art, the latest avant-gardism, should still classify as modern art.[5]

As well as describing certain tendencies of contemporary art, postmodern has also been used to denote a phase of modern art. Defenders of modernism, such as Clement Greenberg,[6] as well as radical opponents of modernism, such as Félix Guattari, who calls it modernism's "last gasp,[7]" have adopted this position. The neo-conservative Hilton Kramer describes postmodernism as "a creation of modernism at the end of its tether."[8] Jean-François Lyotard, in Fredric Jameson's analysis, does not hold there is a postmodern stage radically different from the period of high modernism; instead, postmodern discontent with this or that high modernist style is part of the experimentation of high modernism, giving birth to new modernisms.[9] In the context of aesthetics and art, Jean-François Lyotard is a major philosopher of postmodernism.

One compact definition is postmodernism rejects modernism's grand narratives of artistic direction, eradicating the boundaries between high and low forms of art, and disrupting genre's conventions with collision, collage, and fragmentation. Postmodern art holds all stances are unstable and insincere, and therefore irony, parody, and humor are the only positions critique or revision cannot overturn. "Pluralism and diversity" are other defining features.[31]

Radical movements and trends regarded as influential and potentially as precursors to postmodernism emerged around World War I and particularly in its aftermath. With the introduction of the use of industrial artifacts in art and techniques such as collage, avant-garde movements such as Cubism, Dada and Surrealism questioned the nature and value of art. New artforms, such as cinema and the rise of reproduction, influenced these movements as a means of creating artworks. The ignition point for the definition of modernism, Clement Greenberg's essay, Avant-Garde and Kitsch, first published in Partisan Review in 1939, defends the avant-garde in the face of popular culture.[32] Later, Peter Bürger would make a distinction between the historical avant-garde and modernism, and critics such as Krauss, Huyssen, and Douglas Crimp, following Bürger, identified the historical avant-garde as a precursor to postmodernism. Krauss, for example, describes Pablo Picasso's use of collage as an avant-garde practice anticipating postmodern art with its emphasis on language at the expense of autobiography.[33] Another point of view is avant-garde and modernist artists used similar strategies and postmodernism repudiates both.[34]

Dadaism can be viewed as part of the modernist propensity to challenge established styles and forms, along with Surrealism, Futurism and Abstract Expressionism.[41] From a chronological point of view, Dada is located solidly within modernism, however a number of critics hold it anticipates postmodernism, while others, such as Ihab Hassan and Steven Connor, consider it a possible changeover point between modernism and postmodernism.[42] For example, according to McEvilly, postmodernism begins with realizing one no longer believes in the myth of progress, and Duchamp sensed this in 1914 when he changed from a modernist practice to a postmodernist one, "abjuring aesthetic delectation, transcendent ambition, and tour de force demonstrations of formal agility in favor of aesthetic indifference, acknowledgement of the ordinary world, and the found object or readymade."[10]

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