Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction

Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction

Christopher Butler

Language: English

Pages: 152

ISBN: 0192802399

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Postmodernism has become the buzzword of contemporary society over the last decade. But how can it be defined? In this highly readable introduction the mysteries of this most elusive of concepts are unraveled, casting a critical light upon the way we live now, from the politicizing of museum culture to the cult of the politically correct. The key postmodernist ideas are explored and challenged, as they figure in the theory, philosophy, politics, ethics and artwork of the period, and it is shown how they have interacted within a postmodernist culture.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.





















relationship to 64 6. New Hoover Quadraflex (1981–6) by Jeff Koons. The fine art of museum display is applied to ordinary consumerist objects. pleasure is entirely different, and which shocked so many feminists for her apparent ‘theatrical’ submission to sadomasochistic practices, as the ‘victim’ of men. This critical attitude, as we shall see, often issues in pastiche, parody, and irony. Hence, for example, Jeff Koons’s kitschy New Hoover Convertible (1980), which is indeed just a

‘call into question’ – what else does the tradition of tragedy from Antigone to the Hedda Gabler do? But they need to do so in far more complex and enduring ways than we find in most recent postmodernist art. The postmodernist theory that many in the avant-garde went for was a version of the philosophy, along with its politics and history, that I have outlined in previous sections. Privilege and its hierarchically organized terms, including the formalism associated with modernism, were to

be contingent upon the real, historical world. Crimp also attacked in this context ‘the myth of man and the ideology of humanism which it supports’, because they ‘are notions that sustain the dominant bourgeois culture. They are the very 108 hallmarks of bourgeois ideology’. Neo-expressionist painting was therefore attacked for being politically conservative, because artists shouldn’t therefore think of constructing alternative and pleasurable worlds in works of art; they should ask how

Hassan, Ihab 5 justice 115 Heidegger, Martin 6, 87 Henze, Hans Werner 76, 84 historiographical metafiction K 70–3 Kant, Immanuel 120 stmodernismoP history, rewriting 32–6, 70–3 Kantianism 51, 55, 59 Hockney, David 126 Kelly, Mary 64 Hodgkin, Howard 126 Kesey, Ken 48 Hopkins, David 97 Kiefer, Anselm 64, 80, 106 Hughes, Robert 59, 103–4 King, Martin Luther 74 Hume, David 120 Kitaj, R. B. 126 Hutcheon, Linda 52, 87, 93 Koons, Jeff 66 Huyssen, Andreas 64 New Hoover Quadraflex

before the war – of which it is, for those in favour of it, the politically progressive replacement, and for those against it, the last decadent gasp. 12 Chapter 2 New ways of seeing the world Resisting grand narratives A great deal of postmodernist theory depends on the maintenance of a sceptical attitude: and here the philosopher Jean-François Lyotard’s contribution is essential. He argued in his La condition postmoderne (published in French in 1979, in English in 1984) that we now

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