MARILYN MONROE Andy Warhol (1962)

Everything is
beautiful. Pop is
–Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
The universal subject
(alienation of the modern
Multiculturalism (voice
of“the other”)
Industrialization / Machine Age;
Bourgeois Age (power based in
Multinational corporatism
Nationalism; colonialism /
Globalism; decolonization
Age of Literacy
Image culture / Society
of the spectacle
Tenets of Postmodernism
1) Extreme self-reflexivity:
objectification of structure;
artist/author reflects upon own
processes of creation
• pomos more so than mods
• more playful, irreverant 
• Examples: The Scream series
of movies has characters
debating the generic rules
behind the horror film.
Frank Gehry, Nationale-Nederlanden Bui
Tenets of Postmodernism
2) irony and parody  sense of playfulness
Roy Lichtenstein
Tenets of Postmodernism
3) A breakdown between high and
low cultural forms.
Modernism: focus upon “high”
Pomo: embraces both “high” and
“low” arts (like comic books)
Pomos often employ pop and
mass-produced objects in more
immediately understandable
ways, even if their goals are still
often complex (eg. Andy
Warhol's commentary on mass
production and on the commercial
aspects of "high" art through the
exact reproduction of a set of
Cambell's Soup cans ).
200 Campbell’s Soup
Tenets of Postmodernism
4) Nostalgia:
- Postmodernists and postmodern culture
tend to be especially fascinated with styles
and fashions from the past.
- Often use completely out of their
original context, and in juxtaposition
- Examples: recycled TV shows of the past
that are then given new life on the big
screen (Scooby-Doo, Charlie's Angels, and
so on).
- May be a symptom of our loss of a
connection with the past….
Tenets of Postmodernism
Visuality (visuals, pictures) vs. temporality
(linear time)
5) - Gravitation towards visual forms, as in the "cartoons"
of Roy Lichtenstein or Art Spiegelman's Maus.
- A general breakdown in narrative linearity and
temporality. Many point to the style of MTV videos as
a good example.
- Simulacrum: something that replaces reality with its
representation  leads us to the loss of all connection
to reality or history.
 fascination with reality television.
 the line separating reality and representation has
broken down (Wag the Dog, Dark City, the Matrix, the
Truman Show, etc.).
“The transformation of
reality into images…”
“The Treachery of Images” (1929)
–Frederic Jameson
Hyper-reality, image saturation,
simulacra seem more powerful
than the "real"; images and texts
with no prior "original".
"As seen on TV" and "as seen on
MTV" are more powerful than
unmediated experience.
Sense of fragmentation
and decentered self;
multiple, conflicting
Illusions of individuality
It’s Pomo… You know,
Post-modern… Weird for
the sake of weird.
Questions of truth
and subjectivity first
proposed in
Modernism, gave rise
to the belief in
multiple truths and
multiple subjectivities
in Postmodernism.
(Episode “Homer the Moe”)
Tenets of Postmodernism
7) Disorientation:
Pomo works attempt to
disorient the subject in time
and space.
 alternating narrators
 fragmented chronology
Dr. Who
Tenets of Postmodernism
6) Late capitalism: a general sense that the
world has been so taken over by the values
of capitalist acquisition that alternatives no
longer exist.
 Predominance of paranoia narratives in
pop culture (Bladerunner, X-Files, the
Matrix, Minority Report).
 Aided by advancements in technology,
especially surveillance technology  the
sense that we are always being watched.
Tenets of Postmodernism
8) Secondary Orality: reliance of a largely
functionally illiterate society upon oral media
sources for information (TV, radio, film, etc.)
 reversal: literacy rates had been rising steadily
from the introduction of print through the modern
period, but postmodern society has seen a drastic
reversal in this trend -- pomo culture still relies
on print to create these media outlets (hence the
term secondary orality); however, increasingly
only a professional, well-educated class has
access to full print- and computer-literacy. An
ever larger percentage of the population merely
ingests orally the media that is being produced
(passive response).