Friday, January 1, 2010

Now that it's 2010, What's Next in Art?

It is appropriate at the beginning of the second decade in the Twenty-first Century that a frustrated artist asks questions about the postmodern condition in which he finds himself trapped.

Okay, we’ve been muddling along with Postmodernism for about 50 years now, and that’s a long time as art movements go. We’ve been dwelling on the importance of the culture and the reader/viewer/listener above and beyond the artifact and its creator so long that it is a wonder artists continue to make art. After all, according to our art historians, the artist is just a mirror for his/her culture. And, the art object itself – well, it’s just a material thing – it isn’t important at all.

In my view we have succumbed to a reductionist Buddhist approach to Art – you know, the old saw – if a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s there to hear it, does it make a sound? If, that question be answered with a resounding, “NO,” then, it follows that the tree itself cannot exist without the audition of a living /(thinking?) person. Thus, nothing exists unless man exists. How Western is that? Lowly representative of the human race that I am, I must state the obvious.

Unfortunately, or fortunately the universe does exist independently of man and his various cultures.

Having done man in as the center around which the universe must function, it is time to look at the art object again. What about the creations of man – can these exist independently of their creator? What about the artist / creator – can he/she create art that once given up to the culture might actually contain something of the artist's original intent, and is it possible for that intent to exist to some extent, independently of the culture? In other words, can the artist and/or the artwork be more than a mere reflection of the culture in which he / she, and it exists? And what about the notion that Postmodernism is dead?*

*Check out the Title's link.


Derrida, Jacques. The Truth in Painting. Trans. Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
---. Writing and Difference. Trans./Intro. Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Holly, Michael Ann. Past Looking: Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image. New York and London: Cornell University Press, 1996.

Lyotard, Jean-Francois. “What is Postmodernism.” reprinted as an
appendix to the English edition of Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition, 71-82. Harrison and Wood, 1008-1017.

Norris, Christopher. “Jacques Derrida In Discussion with Christopher Norris,” 71. In Papadakis, Andreas; Cooke, Catherine; and Benjamin, Andrew (eds.). Deconstruction. New York: Rizzoli, 1989.

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