Modernism, Post-Modernism, and Dada in a Nutshell

This is so much more compelling and easy to understand – yes a lot of loss of nuance but a good nutshell:

“There were two massive world changing events in the 20th century and they changed art forever: The World Wars. And what they did was break Modernism.

“[I]n Modernism there is the basic premise that: The more work you put into something the better it becomes and the more meaning it has. While with Post-Modernism the basic premise is that: Effort is redundant. Art is everywhere.

“[M]ost people are Modernists even if they do not know the meaning of the word. They like art that took effort. They like seeing someone’s passion and craftsmanship focussed into specific works: Painting, sculpture, literature, achitecture and little else. This was the aspiration of a civilisation that was rich on the success of industry. Everyone was getting richer. Starvation was nearly over. Electricity lit up the cities for pennies a day and mankind had straddled the Earth with automobiles, steam ships and locomotive. Industrial and scientific progress was headed towards perfection, and likewise, perfect art would one day be made by the correct application of human effort.

“Now, the first elements of Post-Modernism were sprung from Dada art. Dada has a slightly different premise: Effort is wasted. The dada movement wanted to create nonsense art, to point out how silly art is, and helpless in the face of the horror of WW1, the event that inspired Dada. Dada is art making fun of the effort artists put in.

“But Post-Modernism came after the Atomic bomb. Both Dada and Post-Modernism are born from fear of death, but compared to post-modernism Dada seems like a pointless teenage waste, because sure, artists are wasting their time on something pointless but so is everyone else in a world of nuclear war. We’re all going to die. Today, tomorrow, in 50 years time, we’re all going to die and we have very little time to embrace the beauty of this world.

“So, Post-Modernism embraces everything that the viewer thinks has artistic value. If any thought went into its design then it is worthy of artistic appraisal. That appraisal might decide it is uninteresting, but it deserved the attempt. … Wherever a human hand has shaped an aspect of the world: There sits art. Because in this tiny amount of time we have on Earth who wants to ignore something that is beautiful simply because its “not art”.

“A lot of people hate that. It’s fine, you’re allowed to hate it. A lot of terrible pieces of art have been made in the name of postmodernism, and its demand that everything be appraised. And it’s fine to point that out.

“But 99% of the time people don’t say ‘Oh, I believe in the modernist philosophy of art so I would really rather we went to the local portrait gallery than the pop art gallery. They just say they hate modern art.

“Which is ironic, because Modernism is actually what they want to come back.”

Full discussion in context.






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