Thursday, February 26, 2009

PoMo is dead?

Nicholas Bourriaud, Curator, Tate Britain
The Tate Britain, part of the Tate network of galleries, opened the Tate Triennial 2009 on 3 February. French curator and art critic, Nicholas Bourriaud, curated the show. With this show, Bourriaud is announcing that Postmodernism is dead. A statement certain to cause a stir. The show is entitled "Altermodern," designating a name for what he believes is replacing Postmodernism.

Postmodernism stood as a rejection of elitist, bourgeois culture, a movement propelled by the 1960s. Bourriaud declares that we are living in the unique, global context of a world-wide maze from which we are trying to draw meaning.

The maze is pervaded by multiplicity and otherness, unlike modernism which was principally a creation of the western world. Through it, artists and innovators are moving away from standardization and commercialism.

The question Bourriaud asks is what is our modernity in the 21st Century? What is the post-postmodern world?

Laura Cumming, critic for the Guardian UK, has some interesting thoughts about the Bourriaud exhibition.
Altermodernism, if I understand it, is international art that never quite touches down but keeps on moving through places and ideas, made by artists connected across the globe rather than grouped around any central hub such as New York or London. You might take the worldwide web as a model and think in terms of hyperlinks, continuous updates and cultural hybrids. It is most definitely postcolonial, transitional and to some extent provisional, but what it is not, I don't think, is anything as grand, or significant, as a movement.
We believe something has died. PoMo? Probably. But, assuredly, we are seeing the end of the ideas of distance, familiarity, stasis, borders. When we think of how this effects a sense of place, we are awed. This period in the 21st Century may not end up being referred to as the "altermodern" age, but we value the attempt by Bourriaud to get a handle on this amazing diaspora to which we have seemingly been teleported...and tweeted.

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