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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,
1925–2018, American architect and architectural theorist, b. Philadelphia, grad. Princeton (B.A., 1947; M.F.A., 1950). An important and highly influential theorist, Venturi inveighed in his writings against the banality and simplicity of postwar modern
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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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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).


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 ?
Only in the sixteenth century was the very nature of interpretation called into question and explored for its own sake, thus presaging the post-modern interest in hermeneutics.
Cold War division also rendered impossible a socialist politics outside the frame of both the sterile state dictatorship of the East and the "West" that Huyssen likes (minus, presumably, post-Modern excesses).
These two non-dialectical "sorting systems" combined "have the advantage of seeming to offer virtually no content in their own right, no smuggled philosophical contraband, as neutral and value-free as technology or the market." Meanwhile, late capitalism itself has achieved the form of "sheer speculation, something like the triumph of spirit over matter, the liberation of the form of value from any of its former concrete or earthly content." Post-Modern discourse in that sense has ended in "technocratic positivism and experiential nominalism."
Like the rage for performing Hamlet in tuxedos that typified the '30s, it will be the hallmark of the late '80s and '90s that no historical object is secure anymore against its utter submission to the post-Modern. Here the "radical" architects (Zaha Hadid in the Russian exhibition, Gae Aulenti in the Italian) have found their proper function: to stage and upstage, parasitically exploiting the radicality that the historical avant-garde objects commanded but that their own work could never achieve.
This is particularly important because the new Cuban art, more so than that of many other countries, assumes most of the postcolonial paradoxes that affect cultural practice in Latin America, together with the post-Modern playing on the periphery.
After all, it took centuries for the Romans to appreciate the possibilities of light in large spaces; Gothic was honed by generations; the Baroque was quicker in its evolution, and so was Modern normative artificial illumination, but post-modern, electronic and organic techniques for modifying and generating light are only in their infancy.
While deliberating upon the theme of the two-day conference, ' Post-Modern Times: Challenges and Prospects', the speakers hoped that the event will help the young researchers to interact with senior ones to understand their future responsibilities towards the society.
ISLAMABAD -- Speakers at a conference here on Friday underlined the need for media's proactive role to educate the general public in the post-modern era needs.
In this Age of Globalization where men and institutions can see, compare and scrutinize all around, movement towards post-modern Western democratic state model is gradually expanding.
Like Medieval Europe, the collapse of order in Muslim societies opened the gate for "post-modern tribes' invasion." In this sense, sub-state groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) played the same role that the "barbarian tribes" played in Medieval Europe.
Idolatry of Blood: Religion for a Post-Modern World
ABSTRACT: This article explores how today's post-modern, interdependent European system of order interacts with a competing system led by a modern, realist Russian Federation.