Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Postmodernism Lecture Week 3...

- Scream (and Scream again) the avant-garde is dead.
- "The notion of the existence of the avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism." (
- With postmodernism the avant-garde is a notion that has been thrown out and dis-proved.
- Avant garde is the French word for vanguard. A group or work that is innovative or inventive on one or more levels: subject, medium, technique, style, or relationship to context. An avant-garde work pushes the known boundaries of acceptable art sometimes with revolutionary, cultural, or political implications.
- 'We artists will serve you as an avant-garde... the power of the arts is most immediate: when we want to spread new ideas we inscribe them on marble or canvas. What a magnificent destiny for the arts is that of exercising a positive power over society, a true priestly function and of marching in the van [ie vanguard] of all the intellectual faculties! (Henri de Saint-Simon, 1825).
- Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895.
- Kasimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition: White on White, 1918.
- "It has been in search of the absolute that the avant-garde has arrived at "abstract" or "non-objective" art... The avant-garde poet or artist tries in effect to imitate God by creating something valid solely on its own terms, in the way nature itself is valid, in the way a landscape - not its picture - is aesthetically valid; something given, increate [existing without having been created], independent of meanings, similars or originals..." (Clement Greenberg, Avant-garde and Kitsch, 1939).
- What we arrive at is 'art for art's sake'.
- Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917.
- You could argue that postmodernity in the arts kind of begins here with the Fountain.
- Marcel Duchamp, LHOOQ, 1919.
- Pastiche is a cultural artefact composed from elements appropriated from other works; the term can be used in a derogatory sense to indicate lack of originality, or to refer to works that involve a deliberate and playfully imitative tribute. The frequent resort to pastiche is a characteristic feature of postmodernism.
- Appropriation is the direct duplication, copying or incorporation of an image/object from an identified source by an artist who represents it in a different context, thus altering its meaning and questioning notions of originality and authenticity.
- Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Can, 1964.
- Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986.
- Irony is the use of words/images to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning... An expression, utterance or undertaking marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning... A literary or artistic style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect... Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs...
- Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988.
- '... the effacement of some key boundaries or seperations, most notably the erosion of the older distinction between high culture and so-called mass or popular culture. This is perhaps the most distressing development of all from an academic standpoint, which has traditionally had a vested interest in preserving a realm of high or elite culture... and in transmitting difficult and complex skills of reading, listening and seeing to its initiates...' (Frederic Jameson, The Cultural Turn, 1999).
- Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy), 1989.
- Sherrie Levine, Fountain (After Marcel Duchamp: A.P.), 1991.
- "I try to make art which celebrates doubt and uncertainty. Which provokes answers but doesn't give them. Which withholds absolute meaning by incorporating parasite meanings. Which suspends meaning while perpetually dispatching you toward interpretation, urging you beyong dogmatism, beyond doctrine, beyond ideology, beyond authority." (Sherrie Levine).
- Golf GTI, 'Singing in the Rain Remix', 2005.
- 'Culture beginning to cannibalise itself.'
- '... In a world in which stylistic innovation is no longer possible, all that is left is to imitate dead styles, to speak through the masks and with the voices of the styles in the imaginary museum... this means that contemporary or postmodernist art is going to be about art itself in a new kind of way; even more, it means that one of its essential messages will involve the necessary failure of art and aesthetic, the failure of the new, the inprisonment of the past...' (Frederic Jameson, The Cultural Turn, Verso, 1999).
- 'The Nostalgia Mode' (La Mode Retro).
- Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho shower scene.
- Halloween followed a successful formula, as did Friday the 13th.
- "What's the point? They're all the same, some stupid killer stalking some big breasted girl who can't act who's always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It's insulting." (Sidney Prescott, Scream).
- "A psycho killer obsessed with horror movies terrorizes a high schooler (Neve Campbell), whose mother was brutally murdered exactly one year earlier. Sounds like a typical, predictable, slasher film, and to a certain extent, horror maven Wes Craven's latest is. But, ironically, the predictability is actually one of the film's virtues. Scream, written with much self-mocking wit by Kevin Williamson, is also a satire of the "scary movie" genre, knowingly highlighting and celebrating its formula trappings while poking fun at them..." (
- "The slasher genre was long dead before this came along. Since the days of Halloween and Friday the 13th the genre had drowned itself with a cascade of rip-offs, clones and semi-spoofs. But along came Wes Craven and conjured up Scream, a self-aware film which tried to break free of the old slasher mould by offering us something very different. And it works to almost perfection. There is no question that the film isn't cliched itself. Practically everything had been done before. There's the girl who goes outside to investigate a noise, the teenager alone in the house, the killer who wears a mask, etc. But because the characters in the film know this as well, the film is turned right around into something very fresh and innovative." (
- "There is, perhaps, a degree of consensus that the typical post-modernist artefact is playful, self-ironizing and even schizoid; and that it reacts to the austere autonomy of high modernism by impudently embracing the language of commerce and commodity. It's stance towards cultural tradition is one of irreverent pastiche, and its contrived depthlessness undermines all metaphysical solemnities..." (Terry Eagleton, 1987).

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