postmodernism

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Related to postmodern: Postmodern architecture

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 ?
However, three of them are particularly important in understanding the First Postmodern World War.
only after working through a wide variety of theatrical techniques--each of which, in one way or another was directed towards self-consciously querying the postmodern uncertainty which surrounds him--Stoppard finally finds some comfort in the relative safety of dramatic realism in order to express his various politically positivist ideals.
Here, Hassan (1983: 14), one of the most influential figures in postmodern thinking, asserts that the anti-postmodern Habermas develops another Marxist-modernist perspective when he defines the postmodern as "regressive" and "conservative".
Undeniably, Juan Villoro has found in Arrecife an effective and intelligent way of consolidating himself and being taken seriously as a postmodern author in the Spanish-speaking world.
This suggests that postmodern irony isn't confined to hipster hordes.
One tendency of postmodern thought, reflected in the embrace of irrationality as an important element of human experience, stems from the Nietzschean celebration of the Dionysian aspects of life.
As seen against this condition, both Pynchon and Auster, two of the most representative postmodern American male writers, have blind spots.
Collins includes a broad list of approaches under the postmodern umbrella--suspicion or rejection of universal truths, objectivity, unambiguous meanings, grand historical narratives, etc.
Some essays, such as artist Ruth Weisberg's "Between Exile and Irony: Modernism, Postmodernism, and Jewish Modes of Thought," are highly polemical critiques of the postmodern erasure of Jewish ethnic particularity in representational art.
A very partial listing would include Richard Middleton and Brian Walsh's Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age (1995), the late Stanley Grenz's A Primer on Postmodernism (1996), Douglas Groothuis's Truth Decay: Defending Christianity against the Challenges of Postmodernism (2000), and this reviewer's own Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian (2006).
In April 1964 when Lucinda Childs appeared on the cover, George Jackson wrote an article on postmodern dance titled "Naked in Its Native Beauty.
In postmodern electoral contests, a pivotal source of power and strategic advantage belongs to whoever "defines the reality"--that is, whoever is in a position to frame the media debates over social issues and determine which interpretations are appropriate to place on the national agenda for public consideration.