Post-Modern Art of Robert Gober Essay

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Robert Gober - MOMA

To fully appreciate the art of Robert Gover, it is necessary to have at least a rudimentary grasp of the terms modernism and post-modernism. The term modernism is cast variously by the disciplines that frame and articulate it. Generally, modernism is considered a philosophical movement spun from the Age of Enlightenment, even though modernism would come to reject the religious underpinnings of Enlightenment thinking. Tremendously influential changes in the late 19th and 20th centuries transformed cultures and societies as they absorbed and redefined new ways of thinking. Industrialization was a catalyst for the rapid and extensive growth of cities, and the subsequent horrors of the World Wars. Where once there had been certitude, nihilistic thinking eroded convention, irreversibly impacting art, architecture, literature, philosophy, religion, science, and social organization. Convention no longer seemed to fit with the emerging industrialized existences that people found themselves living, and the gap was bridged through self-reference and self-consciousness: artists experimented with the very techniques, processes, and materials that were once the building blocks of traditional art, such as realism. This new self-consciousness of and in the process of creating art was transformational, and it echoed the progressive thought that was leading to experimentation in knowledge and technology. Human beings, as generative forces who could improve and shape the context of their existence, were free to examine every part of their lives. There was a tacit agreement to locate and replace everything that appeared to be a barrier to progress.

The force of commercialism and the development of an elitist modernism radically changed the meaning of modernism in Western culture. In a smoothing process that is as familiar as the "boomerization" of the hippies, the modernist movement took on the baggage of convention: from a position of rejecting tradition, modernism matured to develop its own tradition. As with many revolutionary movements, the trappings of convention soon de-radicalized it. The movement became post-avant-garde. But rather than empower post-modernism by characterizing it as a new art movement, art critic Robert Hughes claimed that postmodernism is an extension of modernism. Regardless, it can be said that post-modern art is a counterpart to modernism -- or the culture that followed on the heels of modernism -- and is intended to contradict it in a substantive way. A number of art movements are considered to be postmodern, with perhaps the most commonly known of these represented by conceptual art, installation art, intermedia, and multimedia.

Conceptual art is scripted, in a way, with the concept of the art developed in advance of and driving the articulation of the aesthetic. That is to say that, conceptual art is designed to convey a particular idea or concept which the primary concern of the artist, and that the materials used to convey the idea, or the arrangement the artist settles on to illustrate the concept or idea are lesser concerns. Conceptual art is sometimes referred to as installation art, but they are separate movements. Installation art is three-dimensional art that is set up in an indoor or outdoor space with the idea of transforming the perception of space through the use of evocative materials. Installation art may be specific to a particular site, and be either a temporary or permanent fixture in that particular space only. The total and immersive experience is essential to installation art.

Intermedia art exists at the nexus of the boundaries of conventional media and media that was previously…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Hughes, Robert. The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change. London: Gardners Books. 1991.

Sheleg, Bambi Gaining clarity: After postmodernism. Eretz Acheret Magazine. 12 October 2009. 23 November 2014.

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