Technology and the Hermeneutics of Time and Space in Modern and Postmodern Art from Cubism to Installation
Chapter Three: Definitions of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Arts 49
~ C H A P T E R T H R E E ~ Definitions of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Arts Every artist is different from his predecessors because he knows more, but of course, they are what he knows. Allen Warren Friedman n focusing on Installation as a specifically postmodern art form, the issue of characterizing the parameters and qualities of “modernism” and “post- modernism” in the arts inevitably arises. Is postmodernism a contin- uation, result, fragment, or denial of modernism? Yes, all and then some. Both modernism and postmodernism consist of a set of beliefs about the practice of art, art criticism, and art history. These incorporate technological influences, and aesthetic and social ideologies of representation and value. Yet, the lack of semantic cooperation, and diversity of critical perspectives have made it exceedingly difficult to establish an articulate and stable nomenclature regarding that which may, with confidence and precision, be called “modern” or “postmodern.” In order to clear a path amidst the various contests and contentions, it is important to look at current usage and determine which attributes may be propitiously extricated from the over-availability of explicatory options. In doing so, we will be able to both see and distinguish the modernist strains, influences and sources which form a “prehistory” of Installation Art and those characteristics which evolved from the representative principles, sup- positions and interdisciplinary discourses of postmodernism. Most ironically, current notions of modernity are derived from an idea of modernity articulated in the Middle Ages. The very...
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