Postmodernism 2011 PPT

No More Rules – Postmodernism/Deconstruction
• Modernism is a tendency rooted in the
idea that the "traditional" forms of art,
literature, religious faith, social
organization and daily life had become
outdated; therefore it was essential to
sweep them aside.
• Modernism encouraged the reexamination of every aspect of existence,
from commerce to philosophy, with the
goal of finding that which was "holding
back" progress, and replacing it with new,
and therefore better, ways of reaching the
same end.
• In this it drew on
previous revolutionary
movements, including
liberalism and
• In art and graphic design, the habits of
this approach involve removing a central,
organizing theme, giving equal
prominence to disparate elements, and
bringing the background to the foreground.
Vattimo, Gianni, The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Postmodern
Culture, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1988
Wolfgang Weingart
Dan Friedman
Cover for WET
gned by
April Greiman,
April Greiman
• During the late 1970s, April Greiman was
acclaimed for her postmodernist
experimentation. (In the 1970s and '80s,
increasing numbers of women entered the
graphic-design field and achieved
prominence.) Her dynamic typographic
innovations and colourful montages were
often made in collaboration with
photographer Jayme Odgers.
• April Greiman
WET magazine
• A cover for WET magazine, for example,
evokes the vibrant cultural scene in
southern California. In this work from
1979, a colour photocopy of singer Rick
Nelson, collaged images from magazines,
Japanese papers, and airbrushed blends
of colour are combined into a cohesive
• By the late 1970s, many
international architectural,
product, and graphic designers
working in the Modernist tradition
thought that the movement had
become academic and lost its
capacity for innovation.
Poster for a
designed by
• Younger designers challenged and rejected the tenets of
Modernism and questioned the “form-follows-function”
philosophy that came to be associated with the diluted,
corporate version of Modernism that derived from the
International Typographic Style.
By Jeffery Keedy
This text was first published in
1998 in Emigre #47.
In 1989 I designed a typeface to
use in my design work for
experimental arts organizations
like Los Angeles Contemporary
Exhibitions and CalArts. I called
the typeface Bondage Bold. Rudy
Vander Lans saw it in some of my
work and wanted to sell it through
Emigre. After adding a regular
weight, normalizing the spacing,
cleaning up the drawings (with
Zuzana Licko's guidance), and
changing the name to Keedy Sans,
it was finally released on an
unsuspecting public in 1991.
• Designers began to establish and then violate grid
patterns; to invert expected forms; to explore historical
and decorative elements; and to inject subjective—even
eccentric—concepts into design. This reaction to
Modernist developments is called postmodernism, and it
took design in many new directions.
What is postmodernism?
‘…unlike Modernism, Postmodernism starts from the assumption that
grand utopias are impossible. It accepts that reality is fragmented and that
personal identity is an unstable quantity transmitted by a variety of cultural
factors. Postmodernism advocates an irreverent, playful treatment of one's
own identity, and a liberal society.’
Not so much a stage after modernism, more an impulse to deconstruct
totalising systems of knowledge, meaning or belief grand narratives in the
terminology of French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard (religions, for
example, or grand political theories such as capitalism or communism, or
nationalisms, or humanist theories of identity). The postmodern condition
, for Lyotard, is that of living without such systems or myths; for Derrida
this is about celebrating this advent of an open future. ...
What is postmodernism?
• A worldview that emphasizes the existence of different worldviews
and concepts of reality, rather than one "correct or true" one.
Whereas modernism emphasized a trust in the empirical scientific
method, and a distrust and lack of faith in ideologies and religious
beliefs that could not be tested using scientific methods;
postmodernism emphasizes that a particular reality is a social
construction by a particular group, community, or class of persons.
• late-twentieth-century critical, literary, and performance movement
that reacts to modern art and literature; postmodernists suggest
that truth is no longer verifiable, and that new art forms are best
created by freely mixing previous styles and themes.
No More Rules - Graphic Design and Postmodernism by Rick Poynor, 2003 Design: Kerr Noble
Image: Edward Fella Client: Laurence King Publishing
Edward Fella
• Edward Fella practiced as a commercial artist in
Detroit, Michigan for 30 years before returning to
study graphic design at the Cranbrook Academy of
Art. While at Cranbrook, and currently as a teacher
at Cal Arts, his idiosyncratic style has influenced
many young graphic designers throughout the
United States and beyond.
A special project created by London based graphic designer Phil Baines,
Titled, "Clear Enough to Read," which is a continuation of his
St. Martin's School of Art thesis
"The Bauhaus Mistook Legibility for Communication."
Exhibition graphics for Gio Ponti - A World, 2002 Design: Kerr Noble Client: Design Museum, London
Barbara Kruger
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #54. 1980. ©1997 The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Thus, to give an example, we can see how Cindy Sherman became a key
figures in this respect of postmodern reference. Sherman’s early work
referred exclusively to the imagery of trashy Hollywood films (of which
there have been many).
Of course, much art has traditionally been dependent on reference to other
previous ‘texts’, but this was about situating the work within a historical tradition
of great artists (sic).
Cleverly, Sherman’s famous early photographs were captioned as Untitled Film Stills. ‘Untitled’, indicating
that you can give them any meaning, then ‘Film Still no…’ instilling the notion that the image does indeed
refer to an actual specific existing film’ (Hollywood ‘B movies’ in Sherman’s work). In short: ‘here is a
picture from a film, but I am not going to tell you which one’, a message complicated by the fact that the
photographs were not actual films stills.
Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai), (1993)
Hokusai's views of Mt. Fuji
deconstruction / poststructuralism
Jacques Derrida initiated the concept of deconstruction in his book
Of Grammatology, published in France 1967, translated into English
"Deconstruction rejected the project of modern criticism, and focused
not on themes and imagery of its objects but on the structure, the system
that frame their production."
It attacks the oppositions put forth by the structurralists by
showing how the one (negative) inhabits the other. (nature
and culture) constructed oppositions to elevate one over
the other, support ecological destruction (culture is
supreme over nature). derrida states that culture is
embedded in nature.
Glas, book, by Jacques Derrida. English Edition. 1986, Univeristy of Nebraska Press.
Designed by Richard Eckersley. source: Lupton/Miller, Design Writing Research, 1996.
Photography Between Covers: The Dutch Documentary Photobook after 1945, book, designed
by Fred Struving, 1989. footnotes and traditional marginalia occupy the centre of this bilingual
book. source: Lupton/Miller, Design Writing Research, 1996.
why is deconstruction so important?
it refutes the neutrality of signs (see Barthes)
the idea that cultural forms fabricate what we view as natural - race,
class, sexuality, etc. --- see feminism, multiculturalism, etc.
it attacked our conventions by questioning authority. reading is an
what is the role of the author? the reader?
(by many this has meant an openness of meaning)
death of the author = interior self is constructed by external systems
and technologies
Since the surfacing of the term “deconstruction” in design journalism in the mid-1980s, the
word has served to label architecture, graphic design, products, and fashion featuring
chopped up, layered, and fragmented forms imbued with ambiguous futuristic overtones.
Post Modernism
The Decentering of the Subject
Poststructural critics have called into question the very existence of the human
"subject" or "self" posited by "humanism." The traditional view of individuals in
society privileges the individual's coherent identity endowed with initiative, singular
will, and purposefulness. However, this traditionalist concept is no longer seen as
tenable in a poststructuralist view of human subjectivity.
The Fundamental Importance of the Reader
With the destabilizing or de-centring of the author and in more general terms of
language as a system, the reader or interpreter has become the focal point of
much post-structural theorizing.
Strange Attractors, book, designed by Marlene McCarty and Tibor Kalman,1989
The New Museum of Modern Art. source: Lupton/Miller, Design Writing Research,
Post Modernism!lectures/history/1975/postmodern.html