Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Post

Hal Foster, “1984” from Art Since 1900

Frederic Jameson, “Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”

Jean Francis Lyotard, Intro to The Post modern Condition

Douglas Crimp, “Appropriating Appropriation”

The readings this week were focused primarily on postmodernism. It’s difficult to define postmodernism because of the slew of definitions that came out of the four different examinations. This statement from Jameson I found the most interesting;

“The postmodernisms have, in fact, been fascinated precisely by this whole “degraded” landscape of schlock and kitsch, of TV series and Readers Digest culture, of advertising and motels, of the late show and the grade-B Hollywood film, of so-called paraliterature, with its airport paperback categories of the gothic and the romance, the popular biography, the murder mystery, and the science fiction or fantasy novel: materials they no longer simply “quote” as a Joyce or a Mahler might have done, but incorporate it into their very substance.”

This statement explains the postmodern society’s interests in “kitsch or schlock” that bring about the pastiche. Jameson states that “in the pastiche we lose our connection with history”, because the history then turns into a series of styles, or that of the simulacra. Then we only understand our history as a “repository of genres, styles, and codes ready for distribution.” This is readily articulated in Crimps essay when he describes the buildings of Michael Graves. Jameson set this next point up when he states, “of all the arts, architecture is the closest constitutively to the economic, with which in the form of commissions and land values have an unmediated relationship. This growth in post modern architecture will be grounded with the patronage of multinational businesses.

Crimp compares the two architects Michael Graves and Frank Gehry and their relation to the post modern. Graves’ style is that of appropriation while Gehry’s is that of material. They both are postmodern because Graves develops a style out of an understanding of the creative combinations of a historic architectural vocabulary, and Gehry comments on the material conditions of the present through a fragmented design, opposing the illusion of the building being one solid piece.

In this example below you can see the influence on Graves’ architecture that Crimp speaks of, “the pseudo-classicism of Art Deco public buildings.” I feel it necessary to represent my home town in showing a work of Graves cleverly called the “Humana building”. Humana being one of the largest health care providers in the nation. In this architecture you can trace its style back in history while it being financed by a multinational corporation. Personally I’ve always liked this building. I have a feeling Humana had no problem paying for this piece.

I find the idea of culture being regurgitated to create new forms interesting and would like to do more research on the subject. Crimp explains how Weston appropriated the pose of the classical nude, and then Levine appropriates the photograph of Weston, both of them using an appropriation device, the camera. Appropriation becomes a style to push the boundaries of contemporary aesthetics, which then gets re-injected back into the culture industry and hung up on the wall of a gallery for us to experience the “aura” in all its glory. Even Jameson describes how “The Clash”, with their anti capitalism, pro-workingman, describe the world as it is, no nonsense, punk rock attitude can achieve no distance from the culture machine. They got reabsorbed into culture and still to this day are making corporations money. My question is if you make any art to critique the fundamental problems of a capitalist society, and then become financially successful doing it, how then are you not propagating the very system you despise?

On that note, i think we all should take a minute and listen to some good music.....

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