Modernism arrived when Manet painted “Olympia.” He critiqued representational art and the aristocracy’s way of life. He used the very same nudes that he was critiquing to present his case.[1] Postmodernism arrived with Duchamp’s Urinal, he playfully challenged the significance of art at its core. If one were to simply put a urinal into an art gallery, does it become art?[2] Postmodernism arrived through the scope of humorless parody. Postmodernism exists between novelty and nostalgia, past and present. The artist aims to create something which simply hasn’t existed before.[3] 

When I watch TV shows like The Bates Motel, a TV show based on the famous thriller Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock. I see a Hitchcock film without Hitchcock. It’s almost as if all authenticity from the original Psycho was removed and replaced by an eerie sense of fandom that both critiques the original, with its exclusion of nearly everything from the original, and simultaneously pays homage to the original by its inclusion of fan lore scattered throughout the series.[4] The Bates Motel is a simulacrum that includes both novelty and nostalgia.

It appears that Postmodernism exists for l’bizarre pour l’bizarre, or “Quirk for Quirk’s sake.”  Postmodernism usually includes a niche, such as being made entirely out recycled materials, or a specific type of food, or having some odd out of this world application, like performance art where one sits in a chair and stares at strangers. There are artists for every medium, some whom make aquatic sculptures out of plastic cups, and others whom make portraits out of Cheetos. Postmodernism also pays homage to the previous era of thinking. Imitators of Abstract Expressionism create an eerie type of fandom where every scribble one creates becomes a work of significance. Sometimes the nostalgia is a bit more obvious; often characters from pop-culture and famous historical figures make their appearances in Contemporary art. Banksy’s artwork often includes pop culture icons, which exist as both novelty and nostalgia. I’m not sure where my art fits in this spectrum.

Why is this relevant? What has happened to our culture today? Where are we going? We’ve entered the realm of endless imitations. It’s no longer about creating something new it’s about creating something old and adding some novelty to it. But, I am not one to claim that all art has been painted(therefore postmodernism?), as this would be the equivalent of saying that every song has been written.

[3]Jean Baudrillard, “The Precession of Simulacra,” (New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984). (Blackboard). 9. Frederic Jameson, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society” In The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, Ed. Hal Foster, (Port Townsend, WA: Bay Area Press. 1983). 111-125.

[4]The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. New York: Entertainment Weekly Books, 1999. McNamara, Mary (March 18, 2013). “Review: ‘Bates Motel’ a twisty, moody modern prequel to Psycho’.”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 19, 2012.

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  • Akua Pokua-Nuako July 6, 2015   Reply →


  • This one is great!!

  • Brandie Seeber July 6, 2015   Reply →

    That’s fantastic.

  • Snootches Jones September 15, 2015   Reply →

    This was a very thought-provoking post. It made me spend the last hour reading about postmodernism. Yet Again. I’ve never found a good working definition of this movement. Some people suggest that’s the point. Perhaps my frustration and discomfort with defining postmodernism is an intended outcome. I just don’t know.

    • Cedric Chambers September 15, 2015   Reply →

      Modernism is essentially a critique on technique. While postmodernism critiques both technique and theory.

    • Cedric Chambers September 15, 2015   Reply →

      But yes, they say that there isn’t a good critique on it. I’d look up pastiche, and the simulacrum. These are the theorists that I’m basing my argument off of. I’m also paying homage to Clement Greenberg in the order that I addressed the issue, he starts with a similar argument(manet and Duchamp) to make his point.

  • Catherine Sromek September 16, 2015   Reply →

    Jess Vaughan

  • Bengt Lindkvist October 2, 2015   Reply →

    Compare the old Disney Carson films with today’s animated with the same subjects. It’s a special atmosphere in the old ones, as in Hitchkock. And, today’s culture feels me more superficially. Myself, I haven’t seen Bates Motel as a TV show, ’cause I don’t like comics!

  • Bengt Lindkvist October 2, 2015   Reply →

    Or one can hire q monkey to paint “something” New! Or It’s selfportrait!

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