Sunday, June 5, 2011
On the Dominant Mode and its Late Phases
We are still sorting out whatever happened in Modernism - particularly as more and most "lost" figures are being rediscovered - and it is difficult to believe that its moment is over, that we are not simply in a late (or later) phase. Many of its radical and once-shocking innovations (collage, abstraction, improvisation, free verse) have become so absorbed in the culture that they are now standard practice in kindergartens. But the most typical artworks of so-called postmodernism - installations, pastiche, "language" poetry - when stripped of their critical theory scaffolding aren't all that different from those produced a hundred years ago. They have merely shifted out of the various facets of Modernism - irony - into a dominant mode.
-- Eliot Weinberger, "Who Made It New?"- NYRB, June 23, 2011
Pictured: An old kindergarten classroom