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Modernism and Postmodernism From Monolithic Elitism to Rainbow Coalition

Modernism and Postmodernism From Monolithic Elitism to Rainbow Coalition

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Anne Davey Orr. Originally submitted for BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Arts at None, with lecturer Louise O'Boyle in the category of Modern Cultural Studies
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Anne Davey Orr. Originally submitted for BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Arts at None, with lecturer Louise O'Boyle in the category of Modern Cultural Studies

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 30, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/19/2014

 
MODERNISM AND POSTMODERISMFrom Monolithic Elitism to Rainbow Coalition
1
 
Abstract
The title chosen for this essay is based on quotations from
The Postmodern Agenda
inwhich Charles Jencks describes Modernism as ‘monolithic elitism’ (Jencks, 1992, p.12) and Postmodernism as a ‘rainbow coalition’ challenge to it. (Jencks, ibid, p.15).This essay explores the meaning of these two definitions by focusing on two paintingsfrom each style period. It discusses aspects of the works chosen to ascertain if they bear out his meanings and agree with, or differ from, definitions given by other commentators such as Clement Greenberg, Mary Acton, Paul Crowther, T. J. Clark and Paolo Portoghesi.The two oil paintings chosen are
 Broadway Boogie-Woogie
by Piet Mondrian of 1942-43 and Gerhard Richter’s
Confrontation nos. 1, 2, and 3
of 1988. The historical provenance of the first will be explored and the cultural and technological changeswhich resulted in the second will be explained. Through a reading of contemporaneous critical comment the essay will argue that these two worksencapsulate the spirit of the cultures from which they came, and show that their disparity is indicative of the huge cultural changes which took place over a forty-fiveyear period.2
 
Illustration 1 Broadway Boogie-WoogieBy Piet Mondrian (Dutch 1872 -1944) 1942 -43Oil on canvas, 50” x 50” (127 x 127 cm)Collection of the Museum of Modern ArtDigital image: www.moma.org>explore>the collectionAccessed 8 March 2010. Illustration 2 Confrontation nos. 1, 2, 3By Gerhard Richter (German 1932 - ) 1988Oil on canvas "44 x 401/4” (112 x 102cm) each. The Sidney and Harriet JanisCollection, gift of Philip Johnson, acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (all byexchange) – Enid A. Haupt – Nina and Gordon Bunshaft Fund – and gift of EmilyRauh Pulitzer. Digital image: www.moma.org>explore>the collectionAccessed 8 April 2010.3

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