Postmodernism 1965 – …

Term used to characterize developments in architecture and the arts after the 1960s, when there was a clear challenge to the dominance of modernims; the term was applied predominantly from the 1970s to architecture and somewhat later to the decorative and visual arts It was first used as early as 1934 by Spanish writer Federico de Onis, although it was not then used again until Arnold Toynbee’s A Study of History in 1938 (published after World War II); these writers saw the ‘post-modern’ phenomenon in largely negative terms, as an irrational reaction to modernist rationalism The term was used sporadically thereafter in the fields of literary criticism and music In the 1970s, however, it came into wide use in connection with contemporary architecture to denote buildings that courted a selective eclecticism, often utilizing elements of Classical or Neo-classical origin In the visual arts the term took hold later, peaking in the mid-1980s in the USA to describe work that offered a more biting critique of current cultural values than that offered in architecture If the attachment of the label itself is set aside, however, the developments may be perceived as growing out of the resistance to a canonical modernism in the 1960s, in turn related to the growing pluralism in art and architecture that came to be associated with Post-modernism from the early 1980s

Postmodernism describes a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture and criticism which marked a departure from modernism While encompassing a broad range of ideas, postmodernism is typically defined by an attitude of skepticism, irony or distrust toward grand narratives, ideologies and various tenets of universalism, including objective notions of reason, human nature, social progress, moral universalism, absolute truth, and objective reality Instead, it asserts to varying degrees that claims to knowledge and truth are products of social, historical or political discourses or interpretations, and are therefore contextual or socially constructed Accordingly, postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, irreverence and self-referentiality

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The term postmodernism has been applied both to the era following modernity and to a host of movements within that era (mainly in art, music, and literature) that reacted against tendencies in modernism Postmodernism includes skeptical critical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, linguistics, economics, architecture, fiction, feminist theory, and literary criticism Postmodernism is often associated with schools of thought such as deconstruction and post-structuralism, as well as philosophers such as Jean-François Lyotard and Frederic Jameson

The term postmodern was first used around the 1880s John Watkins Chapman suggested “a Postmodern style of painting” as a way to depart from French Impressionism J M Thompson, in his 1914 article in The Hibbert Journal (a quarterly philosophical review), used it to describe changes in attitudes and beliefs in the critique of religion: “The raison d’etre of Post-Modernism is to escape from the double-mindedness of Modernism by being thorough in its criticism by extending it to religion as well as theology, to Catholic feeling as well as to Catholic tradition”

More recently metamodernism, post-postmodernism and the “death of postmodernism” have been widely debated: in 2007 Andrew Hoberek noted in his introduction to a special issue of the journal Twentieth Century Literature titled “After Postmodernism” that “declarations of postmodernism’s demise have become a critical commonplace” A small group of critics has put forth a range of theories that aim to describe culture or society in the alleged aftermath of postmodernism, most notably Raoul Eshelman (performatism), Gilles Lipovetsky (hypermodernity), Nicolas Bourriaud (altermodern), and Alan Kirby (digimodernism, formerly called pseudo-modernism) None of these new theories and labels have so far gained very widespread acceptance The exhibition Postmodernism – Style and Subversion 1970–1990 at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 24 September 2011 – 15 January 2012) was billed as the first show to document postmodernism as a historical movement