Modernism to Postmodernism

Ten Ideas that Influenced Contemporary Art

Each of these talks looks at a different aspect of twentieth century art in the context of an idea associated with a contemporary thinker. For example, the first two talks explore the concept of progress and ‘the city and the machine’ through the eyes of Marx’s followers and of Walter Benjamin. The next three address primitivism, the subconscious, ‘language and structure’ in the writings of Fry, Worringer, Freud and Saussure. They then show how each in turn influenced Constructivism, Futurism, Cubism, Surrealism and the path to abstraction.

The remaining five talks focus largely on art produced in the period since 1945. They include talks about consumerism, postmodernism and globalisation in the context of Bourdieu, Debord, Barthes, Derrida and Baudrillard. They revisit feminism and orientalism in the company of Mulvey, Kristeva, Said and Fanon. Besides placing such ideas in their social and political context, they chart six decades from the hedonism of Pop to experiments with work outside the gallery and from the achievements of feminist, Black and other minority artists to the fragmentation of image and identity within a global market context.

Modernism to Postmodernism