Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Postmodernism: Style and Subversion at V&A!

Cinzia Ruggeri, Homage to Lévi-Strauss dress, Autumn/Winter 1983-84

There's nothing like wandering around a gallery to stimulate your mind with different concepts, ideas and objects!

This is the first time an exhibition has been attempted for this period (1970-1990). For those not familiar with it, postmodernism is a movement of art and design that reacted against modernism, challenging its orthodoxies.

Peter Shire for Memphis, Bel Air Chair, 1981-2

For the postmodernists style was everything, purity and simplicity were overthrown in favour of exuberant colour, bold patterns, artificial looking surfaces and above all, a newfound freedom in design.

Peter Shire, Stacked Donut Teapot, 1982

They had a nihilistic approach, it was all about redesigning and playing around with existing objects.

Laurie Anderson

Postmodernism evolved from a provocative architectural movement in the early 1970s and rapidly went on to influence all areas of popular culture, including art, film, music, graphics and fashion.

Vivienne Westwood, Punkature Collection, 1982

There is a first anniversary poster of the Haçienda nightclub in Manchester by Peter Saville (1983) which was the birthplace of the Factory, the record label that launched his career and the band New Order.

The Face magazine, Art Direction by Neville Brody, March 1985

The magazine culture helped to spread postmodernism in graphic design and music. The hyper-inflated commodity culture of the 1980s saw money become a source of endless fascination for artists, designers and authors.

Jean Paul Goude, Grace Jones Revised and Updated, 1978

From Andy Warhol's 1981 Dollar Sign paintings, also in the exhibition, to Karl Lagerfeld's designs for Chanel, consumerism and excess were trademarks of the postmodern.

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Sequin jacket, 1991

The exhibition concludes with art and design from the uncertain moment of the late 1980s, encouraging visitors to consider what relevance the postmodern episode might have for the present day.

"Dubai and Lady Gaga are most postmodern than anything you see in the show." Glenn Adamson (co-curator)

David Salle, Gogo Ballerina dance costume for Armitage Ballet, 1980

Events highlights

Rem Koolhaas, Talking Architecture
Friday 30 September 19.00-20.30

Terry Jones, i-D & Neville Brody
Friday 21 October 19.00-20.00

Introducing Postmodern Fashion
Saturday 3 December 14.00-17.00

V&A connects with
Tuesday 18 October 18.30-20.30

Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990
Curated by Glenn Adamson and Jane Pavitt
Victoria and Albert Museum
24 September 2011 - 15 January 2012

Other exhibitions:
Degas at The Royal Academy of Arts