postmodernism

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postmodernism,

term used to designate a multitude of trends—in the arts, philosophy, religion, technology, and many other areas—that come after and deviate from the many 20th-cent. movements that constituted modernism. The term has become ubiquitous in contemporary discourse and has been employed as a catchall for various aspects of society, theory, and art. Widely debated with regard to its meaning and implications, postmodernism has also been said to relate to the culture of capitalism as it has developed since the 1960s. In general, the postmodern view is cool, ironic, and accepting of the fragmentation of contemporary existence. It tends to concentrate on surfaces rather than depths, to blur the distinctions between high and low culture, and as a whole to challenge a wide variety of traditional cultural values.

The term postmodernism is probably most specific and meaningful when used in relation to architecture, where it designates an international architectural movement that emerged in the 1960s, became prominent in the late 1970s and 80s, and remained a dominant force in the 1990s. The movement largely has been a reaction to the orthodoxy, austerity, and formal absolutism of the International StyleInternational style,
in architecture, the phase of the modern movement that emerged in Europe and the United States during the 1920s. The term was first used by Philip Johnson in connection with a 1932 architectural exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
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. Postmodern architecture is characterized by the incorporation of historical details in a hybrid rather than a pure style, by the use of decorative elements, by a more personal and exaggerated style, and by references to popular modes of building.

Practitioners of postmodern architecture have tended to reemphasize elements of metaphor, symbol, and content in their credos and their work. They share an interest in mass, surface colors, and textures and frequently use unorthodox building materials. However, because postmodern architects have in common only a relatively vague ideology, the style is extremely varied. Greatly affected by the writings of Robert VenturiVenturi, Robert,
1925–, American architect, b. Philadelphia. In his writings, Venturi inveighed against the banality of modern architecture in the postwar period. He argued instead for a more inclusive, contextual approach to design that heralded the postmodern era in
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, postmodernism is evident in Venturi's buildings and, among others, in the work of Denise Scott Brown, Michael GravesGraves, Michael,
1934–2015, American architect, b. Indianapolis, Ind., educated at the Univ. of Cincinnati and Harvard. He taught at Princeton from 1962 to 2002. Graves was a member of the New York "Five" or "white" modernist architects during the 1960s, the other four
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, Robert A. M. SternStern, Robert A. M.
(Robert Arthur Morton Stern), 1939–, American architect, b. New York City. He studied architecture at Yale Univ., became a practicing architect in the mid-1960s, and a professor of architecture at Columbia Univ. in 1970. He and John S.
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, Arata IsozakiIsozaki, Arata
, 1931–, Japanese architect, b. Oita. One of his nation's most important contemporary architects, he has an international reputation and has designed notable buildings in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
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, and the later work of Philip JohnsonJohnson, Philip Cortelyou,
1906–2005, American architect, museum curator, and historian, b. Cleveland, grad. Harvard Univ. (B.A., 1927). One of the first Americans to study modern European architecture, Johnson wrote (with H.-R.
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. Once extremely popular, postmodernism began to fall out of style in the late 1980s.

See also contemporary artcontemporary art,
the art of the late 20th cent. and early 21st cent., both an outgrowth and a rejection of modern art. As the force and vigor of abstract expressionism diminished, new artistic movements and styles arose during the 1960s and 70s to challenge and displace
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.

Bibliography

See P. Goldberger, On the Rise: Architecture and Design in a Postmodern Age (1983); A. Huyssen, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism (1986); C. Jencks, What is Post-Modernism? (1986); S. Gaggi, Modern/Postmodern (1989); D. Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity (1989); J. Tagg, ed., The Cultural Politics of Postmodernism (1989); D. Kolb, Postmodern Sophistications (1990); H. Risatti, ed., Postmodern Perspectives (1990); F. Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991); Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates on Houses and Housing (1992); T. Docherty, ed., Postmodernism: A Reader (1993); P. Jodidio, Contemporary American Architects (1993); D. Meyhofer, Contemporary European Architects (1993); N. Wheale, ed., The Postmodern Arts (1995); S. Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism (1996).

Postmodernism

(1980–2000)
A reaction against the International style and Modernism was evidenced in this style. It reintroduced ornament and decorative motifs to building design, often in garish colors and illogical juxtaposition. It is an eclectic borrowing of historical details from several periods, but unlike previous revivals is not concerned with scholarly reproduction. Instead, it is a light-hearted compilation of esthetic symbols and details, often using arbitrary geometry, and with an intentional inconsistency of scale. The most prevalent aspect is the irony, ambiguity, and contradiction in the use of architectural forms. Those connected with the beginning of this movement include Aldo Rossi, Stanley Tigerman, Charles Moore, Michael Graves, Robert Krier, and Terry Farrell.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the midst of the "waste howling wilderness" (13) of postmodernity, some thinkers tried to confect an ethic from their experience of nothingness, Albert Camus, the Algerian-French existentialist philosopher, perhaps most famously.
By Azuma's own admission, he wishes "to depart from theoretical discussions and instead offer some thoughts on how the postmodern world exists on the surface level and on the kind of aesthetics that govern the works in circulation there" (96)--almost as if his analysis of the resonance between postmodernity and otaku culture is moving towards a more general inquiry on the nature of the individual in contemporary culture.
To him, tradition is not negative and negating, just like postmodernity is not necessarily and essentially an imperialist cultural ploy to further exercise epistemological, hermeneutic and econo-political control over Others by the satraps of the Western god of postmodernity.
Thus only with the exposed break from modernity to postmodernity occurring in Europe, and through a distinctly European form of biopolitical immaterial capitalism, can there emerge a truly global notion of the multitude and the commons.
The study does, however, provoke questions about what comprises modernity, postmodernity, modernism, the avant-garde and postmodernism, and it provides stimulating analysis of several representative plays by Nieva.
Both Ducornet and Acker subvert the static image of women, turn women from objects into subjects, and contribute to the paradigm of planetary postmodernity.
I have graver reservations about Betz's second project, his intellectual history of modernity and postmodernity, damaged, it seems to me, by relying on an old demonology of the Enlightenment and by a superficial engagement with thinkers besides Hamann.
2) Various tendencies symptomatic of postmodernity like fragmentation, moral relativism and a suspicion of universalizing theories have resurged with considerable influence resulting in a strong emphasis being laid on self-identity as a means of thwarting universalizing tendencies.
We need to understand just what postmodernity is and how to deal with it.
Jeffrey Skoller's Shadows, Specters, Shards: Making History in Avant-Garde Film offers fascinating insights into both film studies and postmodernity.
For example, Mason offers six different ways that the word postmodern is used; poststructuralist theories, a postmodern philosophical outlook, a cultural condition, a set of textual and aesthetic devices, postmodern texts that write about postmodernity in a non-experimental fashion, and the cultural products of postmodernity, more generally.
In fact, if you rail against being bureaucratic, restyle your organization's name to reflect the lines, and engage in constructivism, you may be the epitome of postmodernity.