Postmodern the Term 'Post Modernism' Has Emerged Term Paper

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The term 'Post modernism' has emerged as a real area of academic study only from the middle of the 1980's onwards. It is a complicated and a complex term, quite difficult to define exactly, and the reason for this is the fact that the term post modernism appears not only in art but also in various other forms of functioning like for example, in architecture, sociology, in literature, in the sciences, and in fashions, and in technology as well. It can even be stated that it is not very clear when exactly post modernism begins. Some researchers opine that the best way to start thinking about post modernism is by starting with modernism, and this is the movement from which the subsequent post modernism movement has stemmed. Modernism has two important facets, both of which must be understood clearly before beginning the attempt to understand post modernism. (Postmodernism)

Therefore, one must understand that the first basic definition of modernism stems from the aesthetic movement known as modernism, and this is what keeps pace with the various twentieth century ideas of art. It is in fact a movement in visual arts, in drama, in music, in literature and in other areas, which happened to reject the hitherto held ideas of Victorian idealism in favor of the high modernism, which reached its peak during the years from 1910 to 1930, and some of the more important names in the field of literature and arts at that time were James Joyce, Woolf, Ezra Pound, Eliot, Proust, Kafka, and Rilke, all of whom were precursors of post modernism. Some of the primary characteristics of modernism are as follows: an emphasis on impressionism, and a keen subjectivity in visual arts as well as in writing.

The real emphasis seems to have shifted at this time from what exactly has been perceived, to how exactly something have been perceived. One of the best examples of this phenomenon is the 'stream of consciousness writing' that emerged at this time. Another important factor that emerged at this time was the manner in which the artist moved away form the objectivity that had been provided by third person narrators till date, and another is that of a blending of genres. Fragmented forms, discontinuous narration, a tendency towards reflective ness, and a rejection of large and formal designs in favor of simple aesthetical ones are all typical hallmarks of the modernism that reached a peak during the middle years of the 1900's. (Postmodernism)

Postmodernism can therefore be defined as a late twentieth century movement that opposed the Modernist movement with an emphasis on a purity of technique and of form, and which had as its primary intention the desire to break down the existing barriers between the media, the popular culture of the time, and in art. Postmodern artists seem to have utilized a whole lot of past movements, and merged them all into the post modern movement; in a way that they would be effectively applied to their art, where the distinction between a low art form and a higher art form, and also a distinction and a separation between the two genders would be lost. The post modern movement in fact encourages the mixing of ideas, and also of varied medias, so that the result would be an art form that would in effect promote irony, parody and humor, all in equal and pleasing measures. (Art History, postmodernism)

One of the post modern artists who has a unique style of his own and has held several exhibitions of his art work is Leumund Cult. He has as a matter of fact, held a recent exhibition in 2002, in the Cabaret Voltaire, a center for artistic entertainment and for sharing of ideas that had been formed in 1916 by Hugo Ball and his companion Emmy Hennings. The Cabaret was a place where artists could gather and make fun of the more serious works of art being displayed downstairs, and it is said that this sort of making fun of serious art gave rise to the cultural movement called Dada. When in the year 2002 the Cabaret fell into disrepair that a group of contemporary young artists headed by Mark Divo occupied the place and attempted to revive Dadaism. There were numerous performances related to art like plays, dramas, orchestras, and art displays over a three moth period held in the Cabaret, in which several post modern artists of Zurich and other surrounding areas took part. One of these artists was Leumund Cult. (Leumund Cult, from Wikipedia)

Another famous postmodern artist known for her breaking away form modernism and its designs to form a design all her own is Barbara Kruger. Born in the year 1945, in Newark New Jersey, the artist studied in Syracuse University, the School of visual arts. After being appointed for one of her first jobs as a designer at Conde Nast Publications, and after having been promoted to the position of Head Designer within a short period of time, Barbara went on to developing her very own unique art form. What this artist does is that she layers found photographs from certain existing sources with an aggressive text with which she manages to grip the attention of her viewers. (Barbara Kruger, biography)

Some examples of her bold copy are when she declares "Your body is a battleground," or when she states "I shop, therefore I am." (Barbara Kruger, biography) Barbara Kruger manages to put forth complicated questions on contemporary issues like feminism, classicism, and consumerism, and this is despite the fact that most of her black and white images have in fact been culled from the magazines that she has been working for, where photographs of products are used in her designs. This artist's works have appeared in museums and in art galleries, and also in posters, on bus cards, on billboards, and in other common areas. It must be stated that the artist has managed to change the very way in which the world views design, through her adaptations of design in her art forms. (Barbara Kruger, biography)

The beauty and the charm and magic of this artists works lies in the manner in which she manages to juxtaposition words and images in her work. It is assumed that the artist's career as the chief designer and photographer for the magazine Conde Nast must have helped her to a tremendous extent in developing this unique art form of layering images and then juxtapositioning those images and words together to make an impact on the viewer. The words or captions that the artist uses are short and pithy like, and are in fact scattered all over the layered images. These images are in fact appropriated from various media, and can be of anything at all. (Barbara Kruger: Undo You)

The captions on the other hand, are all accusatory or declarative in their tone, and in most cases, there are two reflexive pronouns used frequently, and these are 'you' and 'we', which may mean that the artist is referring to men and women. In their very tone, these works are more often than not humorous and amusing, and the viewer is at times suspended between the images and the text. Barbara Kruger in fact reminds the viewer that language can be used within culture so that it would be able to construct and maintain proverbs and perhaps jokes, myths, and like, that the interest of the viewer is never lost The following are some of the artist's works where an image and a caption are juxtaposed in a poster, and where powerful meaning is conveyed through the captions that the artist uses. (Barbara Kruger: Undo You)

In Barbara Kruger's own words, "I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren't." (Barbara Kruger: Whitney Museum of American Art) This artist's works have been termed 'bold', and she has often been referred to as one of the most compelling artists of the postmodern era. Her instantly identifiable images which explore the sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant dynamics of power, sexual exploitation, and identity and so on have as a matter of fact helped to shape almost an entire generation of postmodern artists, and also on the way in which an average viewer sees the world. Barbara Kruger not only challenges the stereotypical images of identity and gender but also questions them to a large extent. She is known for her bold black and white layered photographic images, which have red labeled text running through them wherever she wants to put them and in her own words too. (Barbara Kruger: Whitney Museum of American Art)

It has often been said that these signature images, which were for the most part produce during the 1980's, end up raising certain important questions and issues over and over again, and the viewer starts to doubt the values and the morals and the tastes of the material world in which he…

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