History & the Arts – Postmodernism: Design in a Nutshell (6/6)

History & the Arts – Postmodernism: Design in a Nutshell (6/6)


Post modernism began at precisely 3 pm March the 16th 1972. Modernism had failed or at least that’s what the postmodernists believed. Modernists had spent much of the 20th century trying to forge a better world inspired by
science and universal truths. To them less was more. To postmodernists less was a bore. They believed we needed as many references as possible to determine our own individual subjective conclusions. Art is a good way to try and explain it. Remember, Picasso? He created one off masterpieces based upon predetermined principals of art. His creations rocked the art world. But postmodernists weren’t impressed. They believed in more than one method or style. Collage, chance, anarchy, repetition. These were infinitely more interesting. Postmodernists wanted to challenge audiences and force them to ask questions. Post-modern buildings rallied against the blandness that had gone before. The Las Vegas strip is a great example. A right of styles, cultures and whimsical collage. Like any movement postmodernism had its critics objecting to unnecessary ornamentation. An obsessive tendency to recycle the past
to make something new and often just plain silliness. The rise of mass media really helped
postmodernism take off. The world was interconnected like never before. For many postmodernism was liberating giving creative expression a dynamic, often unsettling voice. Postmodernist cinema still confuses, surprises and delights us. Postmodernist performers still bemuse
us. And we just can’t seem to get enough of quirky postmodern art. Politically, philosophically, creatively – the postmodern movement has proven itself a force to be reckoned with. Like a giant social cattle prod compelling society to question why things are the way they are, and why they aren’t. Planning something postmodern?

79 thoughts on “History & the Arts – Postmodernism: Design in a Nutshell (6/6)”

  • the use of picasso as an modernist artist doesnt work. picasso has done everything a post modern artist is supposed to do.

  • Modernism has never failed in fact. It still lives on with us.
    IKEA, McDonald, iphone, Ford its all heritage of modernism.

  • Postmodernism is (was?) a pseudo-movement; the term means all and nothing really. Literally "all the crap that came after Modernism".

  • Thanks for this nutshell series. I personally have trouble with the arrogance of the "Modernists" for getting that term stuck in the 50's.

  • For the best lecture on post modernity and its implications I suggest Rick Roderick's excellent series "Self Under Siege" in particular the last lecture dealing with Baudrillard.

  • isn't the toilet one of the most symbolic pieces of Dadaism ? and according to what i've been reading up on, dadaism was a movement that was categorized under Modernism ? 

  • postulating the concept that universal truths cannot be comprehended by human observation, postmodernism contradicts itself as it claims to be another universal truth.

  • Postmodernism is a way of creating metaphors by combining opposites.. forcing people to engage and question motives. It forces people to talk about issues that normally they wouldn't talk about or even think about doing in the first place. True rebels are postmodernists doesn't mean they have to be hipsters.. Winston Smith graphic designer for much of the original punk rock music scene back in the day was a dadaist but also postmodernist. He definitely wasn't a hipster but who cares anyway.. just be yourself.. inform yourself.. because it changes who you are.

  • Guys, post-modernism isn't as ignorant and as stupid as you think. there is still a sense of rationality, reason and logic to it but in a different way. Post-modernism question structure and challenges the idea of an "absolute truth".

    "Nothing is true, everything is permitted" from Alumut

    Is democracy always  the best political system? maybe now but what about later or in the future? Is that phone i your hand always a phone? or is it just a piece of plastic?

    So really Post modernism isn't really as ignorant as you claim, I am pretty sure it discourages thinking in a one sided perspective of things.It's not denying the truth but rather it looks at it in different angles

    … then again what I just said isn't even the set definition of it as it has no set definition but just an idea of challenging the idea of "absolute truth"

  • The urinal was a work called the Fountain by Duchamp, who was considered to be a Dadaist if anything, which is absolutely not a part of Postmodernism, but of Modernism. A lot in this video and the comments is just misleading. 

    In a nutshell, Postmodernism is not only a defiance and revision of Modernism, but it was a way to blur the line between high and low culture, and most importantly what makes up Postmodernism is believing that a design for a better world comes from within a culture rather than from above it.

    Modernists were trying reflect modern experiences through form and thus tried to make global communication better and clearer, and enrich life as a whole. Postmodernists felt that the way it was done was snobbish and detached from reality, and comes out of a bubble in the mind of the designer or artist. They simply felt like they were doing what Modernists were trying to do, but better and more realistically. 

    That's why its called Postmodernism, and not some other made up name because it is still Modernism in a way. It is still, essentially, an approach that claims to better the world through visual communication that sets a strong relation between contemporary life, and form. 

    In a nutshell.

  • I agree that modernism was a bore, a failure and a dead end, but we should have replaced it with skilled art and culture, not meaningless insanity

  • Doesn't the idea of "less is more" mean that there is more meaning behind some simple artwork or design, and is thus the same as postmodernism?

  • “Post modernism began at precisely 3pm March the 16th 1972. Modernism had failed or at least thats what the postmodernists believed. Modernists had spent much of the 20th century trying to forge a better world inspired by science and universal truths. To them less was more. To postmodernists less was a bore. They believed we needed as many references as possible to determine our own individual subjective conclusions. Art is a good way to try and explain it. Remember, Picasso? He created one off masterpieces based upon predetermined principals of art. His creations rocked the art world. But postmodernists weren’t impressed. They believed in more than one method or style. Collage, chance, anarchy, repetition. These were infinitely more interesting. Postmodernists wanted to challenge audiences and force them to ask questions. Post-modern buildings rallied against the blandness that had gone before. The Las Vegas strip is a great example. A right of styles, cultures and whimsical collage. Like any movement postmodernism had its critics objecting to unnecessary ornamentation. An obsessive tendency to recycle the past to make something new and often just plain silliness. The rise of mass media really helped postmodernism take off. The world was interconnected like never before. For many postmodernism was liberating giving creative expression a dynamic, often unsettling voice. Postmodernist cinema still confuses, surprises and delights us. Postmodernist performers still bemuse us. And we just can’t seem to get enough of quirky postmodern art. Politically, philosophically, creatively – the postmodern movement has proven itself a force to be reckoned with. Like a giant social cattle prod compelling society to question why things are the way they are, and why they aren’t. Planning something postmodern?”

  • "Challange audience and force them to ask questions."- I googled up postmodern architecture and my first question is: WHY? 😀

  • Charles Jencks in his book "the language of postmodern architecture" (1977) defines modernism's death on July 15th , not on march 16th.

  • Extremely poor and inconsistent description of what postmodernism was and still somehow is. Is reducted to a kind of fuzzy attitude towards modernism. The problem is what modernism? In which field?? Art, Architecture, Philosphy or Social-sciences because there are 4 post-modernism phenomena which are quite differerent in those 4 fields…

  • Modernism was forward thinking, logical, it was concerned about the future and it dreamed big. Postmodernism is always looking in the rear view mirror. Its the art for a culture that lacks guts, a vision of the future and a belief in a better tomorrow.

  • Aren't most young lovers of post modern just loving it through pure irony? Like people watching and enjoying films that are so bad they are good. Most pop critics I've seen when looking at post modernity just say "lol random quirky #random #quirky #randomquirky #postmodernism"

  • I dont think you really understand what postmodernism actually is. Its not a style and its not something root for. Postmodernism is the world's current reality. Ever repeat a line from a favorite movie and incorporate it into your conversation? Ever send a gif of a cartoon that represents your mood? Ever listen to a rap song and hear a sound bite that you instantly recognize. Ever see foreign pop stars emulating American pop stars fashion and vice versa? Ever eaten at an Olive garden and think I love this italian restaurant? My point here is that daily life is filled with constant referencing of other things in language and communication. Kids today dont even care about owning some unique style of their own generation. They have the internet to pick and choose decades of styles and music… All of this extends to products and fashion, autimobiles and buuildings and ART. etc… The comment about mass media was spot on but in todays world this has been expanded uppn to a hyper extreme. in the 70s there were the intellectuals that were well read and the world hadnt completely globalized YET… Now this postmodernism is the reality we live in as a society. Social media and viral videos are just one obvious and bleeding edge example of how far the phenomenon of postmodernism has affected daily life..

  • http://www.stephenhicks.org/2018/01/06/peterson-hicks-discussion-on-pomo-transcription/
    Jordan Peterson and Stephen Hicks diagnose Post-modernism.
    The full blow-by-blow transcript of Jordan Peterson's August 2017 interview of Prof. Stephen Hicks, author of "Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism from Rousseau to Foucault."

  • I would argue that Picasso was already moving towards Postmodernism in the 1930s. Soviet Art from the 1950s has got distinctly Postmodern aspects (irony and self-conscious pastiche among them), which is interesting as all forms of Modernism were banned under Stalin. Also, even though in high-architecture Postmodernism was not officially recognized until the 1970s, Robert Venturi certainly saw1950s Las Vegas and novelty buildings (like hotdog stands that look like hotdogs) to be important cultural progenitors of Postmodern architecture.

  • A worrying Open University video sponsored by the wonderful Marxist BBC?….I would love to do an Open University course but I dont trust them as an institution……

  • You (OpenLearn) 'educate' us about postmodernism with a pessimistic undertone that tells us fragmented facts through a playful video to convey a personal belief about the subject, while you offer yourself to a global audience as an alternative option to traditional education that teaches an eclectic range of subjects on a popular massmedia platform available for both high and low cultured…
    You are the best example of postmodernism on this page, the only thing you lack is the self-awareness. How ironic (<-but also very postmodern of you).
    Cheers, art is dead.

  • Well, no.
    Postmodernism is the belief that in essence: human beings don't know anything, and art is garbage and should be made fun of for its pretentiousness.

  • yes^ indeed they blow up the building as the end of Modernism epoch https://archi.ru/world/48410/zdanie-ikona-v-agnosticheskii-vek

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