Metamodernism
 
Bo Bartlett, School of the Americas, 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pollock in front of blank canvas
As we entered into the 21st Century, we naturally "took stock" of our moment and many declared the end of the avant-garde. It had long been taken for granted that everything that can be done, has been done.
 
Existential angst, a sense of alienation that led to cultural upheaval, and a drive towards innovation and futurism characterized the American avant-garde after WWII.
 
In the postmodern era, these sentiments lost their lustre.
Pollock standing in front of
blank canvas for Mural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hilton Kramer has explained that for some, postmodernism became "the revenge of the philistines" in that artists seemingly embraced kitsch, and low brow culture over the clean, cool, reasoned aesthetic of modernism with excessive eagerness.

 
Mike Kelley, Memory Ware Flat, 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the "Great Recession" we found repeated confirmation that there was nothing left to rebel against.
Takashi Murakami, Tan Tan Bo, 2001.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Takashi Murakami, My Lonesome Cowboy, 1998.
Viewers looking at and Hiropan Milk, 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anarchy in the U.K. fanzine, UK, 1976.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Numerous critics declared that Pomo's institutional critique was too well received, and as a consequence, they dismissed Postmodernism as fad.

 
Takashi Murakami Louis Vuitton bag included in the traveling retrospective of the artist's work © MURAKAMI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1996 Hal Foster asked in the Return of the Real "Whatever happened to Postmodernism?"
 
 
Banksy, If Graffitti Changed Anything..., London, 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many have since declared the end of Postmodernism and have tentatively called the newest artistic era, "post-postmodernism" and/ or "meta modernism."
 
metamodernism = works and artistic practices that oscilate between modern and postmodern perspectives
 
"In the wake of the myriad crises of the past two decades — of climate change, financial meltdown, and the escalation of global conflicts — we have witnessed the emergence of a palpable collective desire for change, for something beyond the prematurely proclaimed 'End of History.'” - Luke Turner in Metamodernism: A Brief Introduction
Marilyn Minter, Stuffed, 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We know that postmodernism, in simple terms, has been a detachment from modernism. We detached from the Constructivist’s utopias; we detached from the Expressionist’s catharsis; we detached from the Ruskin utopia of artistic moral influence. We detached from the Dada purges. We detached from the Greenbergian truth. We detached from the almighty metanarrative. Postmodernity detached us from believing that our intelligence will keep us from a return to primordial ooze. It detached us from believing that human invention of the end of the world does not have to end the world." - Stephen Knudsen in Art Pulse
 
Andreas Gursky, Pyongyang IV, 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The use of the prefix 'meta' here derives from Plato’s metaxis, describing an oscillation and simultaneity between and beyond diametrically opposed poles. This usage was first proposed by Dutch cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in their 2010 essay, Notes on Metamodernism." - Luke Turner
Julie Shafer, Conquest of the Vertical: 300 Miles From Eureka! 2012. Silver Gelatin pinhole photograph, 69" X 40".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julie Shafer, 5 mile drive from the Fireside Lounge to 41.296111, -105.515000, 2012.
Julie Shafer, Looking out the rear driver-side window, 2012. Inkjet photograph, 33 x 24 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"As young protesters, [Bartlett's figures] find utopian ideals suspect; however, in their repose they are ironically taking action against threat. They are confronting the inventors of the end of the world: us. Specifically, they are facing down the strongest military in the world - a military mandated to prevent apocalypse, but also one with apocalyptic potential that could explode if not regulated by the people. School of the Americas becomes a reflection of ourselves; we still want to believe in something good, even in a world with utopian enthusiasm put into checkmate." Stephen Knudsen in Art Pulse
 
School Of the Americas / Wester Hemisphere Institute for Security Operations
 
Latin America and the SOA
Bo Bartlett, School of the Americas, 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spectacularization of art

In the nineties architecture and design acquired a new importance in culture at large. Although this prominence stemmed from the initial debates about postmodernism, which centered on architecture, it was confirmed by the inflation of design and display in many aspects of consumer life - in fashion and retail, in corporate branding and urban redevelopment, and so on. This economic emphasis on design and display has affected both curatorial practice and museum architecture as well: every large exhibition seems to be conceived as an installation piece in itself, and every new museum as a spectacular Gesamtkunstwerk or "total work of art."
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Gehry, Guggenheim, Bilbao, 1997.
Frank Gehry, Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Pereira, LACMA, 1965.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LACMA 1965
Peter Zumthor, proposed LACMA expansion, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LACMA redesign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In The Society of the Spectacle (1967) Guy Debord defined spectacle as "capital accumulated to such a degree that it becomes an image." This process has become more intensive in the last four decades, to the point where media-communications and entertainment conglomerates are the dominant ideological institutions in Western society. - Art Since 1900
Matthew Barney, River of Fundament, MoCA, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfredo Jaar, Gold in the Morning, 1987. Lightbox with color transparency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The traveling 20-year retrospective of French Conceptual artist Pierre Huyghe turns the Los Angeles County Museum of Art into a mammoth vivarium — a carefully orchestrated, walk-in terrarium-cum-aquarium. The exhibition creates a self-contained ecosystem of plants, sculptures, video projections and installation works, plus a variety of animals." - Christopher Knight
Pierre Hughye at LACMA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like other mega-museums, they were designed to accommodate the expanded field of postwar art, but in some ways they also trump this art: they use its great scale, which was first posed as a challenge to the modern museum, as a pretext to inflate the contemporary museum into a gigantic space-event that can swallow any art, let alone any viewer, whole. - Art Since 1900
 
Doug Aitken, Electric Earth installation, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ai Wei Wei, Sunflower Seeds, Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, 2010.
On the installation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ai Wei Wei, Study of Perspective,Washington D.C., White House, 2000.
Ai Wei Wei, Study of Perspective, Peking, Tiananmen Square, 2000.
 
Ai Wei Wei, Never Sorry, 2012.