The Pictures Generation
Untitled Film Still #13
"It is safest to grasp the concept of the postmodern as an attempt to think of the present historically in an age that has forgotten how to think historically in the first place.” - Fredric Jameson
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #13, 1978.











Laurie Simmons, Purple Woman/Kitchen/Second View, 1978.












Postmodernism = a late-20th-century movement in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism. Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism.
Gerhard Richter, Betty, 1988.











Postmodernism is "post" because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characterisitic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning.
  • No single truth exists
  • Everything that can be done, has been done
  • Sense that the avant-garde has broken down - there is no longer a shared message or purpose
  • Modernism screwed up
Michael Graves, Portland Building, 1982.











Le Courbusier, Le Villa Savoye in Poissy, 1931.
Frank Gehry with Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Binoculars Building, 1985 - 1991. 340 Main St, Venice, CA 90291












Postmodernism = name for many stylistic reactions to, and developments from, modernism. Postmodern style is often characterized by eclecticism, digression, collage, pastiche, and irony. Postmodern theorists see postmodern art as a reversal of well-established modernist systems, such as the roles of artist versus audience, seriousness versus play, or high culture versus kitsch.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #1, 1977.











Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Stil #15, 1978.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #32, 1979.











Leave It to Beaver, 1957 - 1963
The Donna Reed Show, 1958 - 1966
Gidget, 1959
Psycho, 1960











pastiche = an artistic technique whereby a generally light-hearted tongue-in-cheek imitation of another's style is employed; although jocular it is usually respectful (as opposed to parody, which is not)


Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #48, 1979.











Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #21, 1978.
Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970











Laura Mulvey's Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1973)
Male gaze = a fundamental concept to Feminist theory which relates to the way men look at women, how women look at themselves and other women, and the sociological effects of this method of looking.
Some feminists posit that since it is almost always the female who is being gazed upon by the male, the man exhibits power over the woman.
But who is the assumed viewer in a Sherman image?
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #34, 1979.












Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #6, 1977.











Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #54, 1980.