Death to the Future

– Modernism to post modernism-

Modern- Of the now

Modernism- History of modern art

Modernity- context, technological advances- things that happened- Wider implications of modernism, whole time period that took place around art.


(Abstraction is the key characteristics of modern art.)


timescale: 1869-1970s


– industrial revolution

– movement from rural to urban environments

– WW1 & WW2

– Rise of the middle class

– Changes in communication

– Scientific advances

– Rational, Simple, Geometric, Undecorated

– Optimistic – Utopian (Best of all possible worlds) and Utilitarian (greatest good for greatest no. of people) – nobody believes in it anymore

– Priutt Igoe Housing complex 1972 destroyed


Themes and concerns:

– Progress

– Production

– Death of god (secularism)

-Form follows function & exploration of new materials (Bauhaus)

– Utopian & Utilitarian – optimism

– Breakdown

-Formalism (Greenburg)

– Rejection & rebellion

– Abstraction



Timescale: 1970’s-1990’s


– information age

– world wide web

– dissolution of totaling truths

– sense of fragmentation (no truths – we dont trust) and decentered self; multiple, conflicting identities

– Importance of global economies- so many choices

– scepticism towards everything

– culture of surveillance

– globalisation


Modernism– middle class men tell us what true and what’s not.

Post-modernism- everyone’s opinions matter.


Jeff Koons- borrows from others

Cindy Sherman


Themes and concerns:

– consumption

– no particular style

– eclecticism- wide range of stuff- borrowing

– appropriation- borrowing- nicking ideas

– mixing of materials

– ornament and decoration

– witty and ironic

– contradictions and complecity

– social/political critique

– Ambiguity- vague

– mixed media, intertextuality- anything can be text- films, advertisements

– parody, irony and nastalgia ( fuzzy feeling about looking backwards)

– meaning is socially constructed not revealed ‘truth’


Mark Tansey 

A short history of modernist painting 1982

– 3 images on one piece

– pre-modern art of classic art -into another world

– three dimensional image on a two dimensional plane- flat image

– self referential- anything can be art



AT&T building- ornament

Playful humour?


Barnett Newman

Who is scared of Red, Yellow and Blue? 1966


Philip Taaffe

We are not Afraid 1985


– acrylic


Cindy Sherman


– gender roles are socially changed


Roger Brown

Talk show addicts 1993

– etching and aquatint


Christo and claude

Trees (wrapped up)

– Fresh eyes

– New


Modernism, Postmodernism and Beyond!

-YBA and 21st Century Art-

YBA- Young British Artists: 1990-2000

Open to interpretations

-Hype – marketing – sensations exhibitiom – artist as brand



– Thatcher’s britain

– emerged from art schools in late 80’s

– teachers and students came together to consider contemporary life and culture

– freeze exhibition 1988


– life – love -sex -deth – destruction -society

Main artists:

– Damien Hirst, Tracy Emmin, Sarah Lucas, Jim Lambie, Mat Collishaw, Gary Hume, Sam Tayor- Wood, Gillian Wearing


Damien Hirst

“Artists are like everybody else”

– cycle of life and death


Diamond skull- Damien Hirst

– both humans and diamonds are made of carbon


– blood diamonds (film)


21st century art- The now!

– artists as celebrity and brand- a shift from art towards the artist

– globalisation- wide range of telecommunication

– sustainability

– internet as the printing press of the 21st century web 2.0 technology

– the turner prize- a barometer of 21st century art



– the world is effectively sinking


– up-cycling in fashion – make something better than it was

– recycle, reuse, reduce

– environmentalism


Andy Goldsworthy

” I enjoy working in a quiet and subversive way”


Cornelia Parker

” There’s such a freedom about being an artist… You’re not accountable- you’re this renegade thing”

– cartoon endings made into art


Jenny Holzer 1950

– truisims


Julian Opie

“I am simply using which is available to describe that which is experienced”


– album cover




Barbara Kruger

-Used to be magazines editor and uses the layout to make her art

– identity is fragmented ‘you are not yourself’

– Passive – traditionally look away ‘your gaze hits the side of my face’

-active- looking directly at the viewer


David Shrigley

‘worried’, ‘I’m dead’, ‘going nowhere’