Braithwaite- Modernism vs Post Modernism

Modernism and Post Modernism are terms encompassing numerous movements. These movements characterize international developments in literature, music, and the graphic and plastic arts from the late nineteenth century onward. Modernism and postmodernism in art are best understood in relation to modernity and post modernity in general cultural history and modernist and post modernist art are most easily understood with art examples. Modernism covers the period from Manets Olympia in 1863 to the end of pop art with Andy Warhol in the late 1960s. Post Modernism began from the analysis of Modernism. The period of Post Modernism begins roughly around the end of the 1960s moving forward. It reflected on areas such as feminism, equal rights and protest movements. Postmodernism describes movements, which “both arise from, and react against or reject, trends in modernism. Postmodern art departs from modern art in its abandonment of political encouragement for a singular belief” (Berry).  “Each separate movement depicts reality in terms of a singular fundamental truth that developed during the modernist era” (Berry). Two artists that encapsulated the idea of modernism and post modernisms in its entirety were Frank Stella (1936) and Banksy (1974). These men share characteristic, which lend art to be from modern to postmodern as well as coming up with a understanding between high arts and low art within the journey to popular culture.

Modernist Frank Stella displays the “activities and outputs of those who felt the traditional form of art were becoming outdated in the new societal conditions in his work. (Brown)” Stella, a painter, manifested telling ambiguities from a modernist standpoint. Early monochromatic Stella stripes, on the other hand, create a “unified front that does not involve pictorial space. Stella’s slabs are three-dimensional and the paintings defy pictorial space and the limitations of painting. The slabs become unitary forms that project out of the painting’s surface. (Ünsal)” Stella’s paintings utilize shape as a medium in which the very notion of shape is investigated in modernism art. Postmodernist Banksy, you can’t get more Post-modern than him. Banksy is the type of artist that can’t be seen yet he can be heard through is controversial art. His work is highly politically motivated and is a “rebellion in a way to society, a voice if you like against the government and world governments. (Mack)” As stated in research by Stevie Mack, he also takes very old famous paintings live Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and repaints them as being dead; in another famous painting of a river Banksy paints re paints the beautiful scene with shopping trolleys and traffic cones in the water symbolizing society today. When discussing work from Frank Stella you can easily categorize it has high art. According to Wikipedia, High art is the cultural products most often regarded as forming part of high culture are most likely to have been produced during periods of High civilization society provides a coherent and conscious aesthetic framework, and a large-scale environment of training, and, for the visual arts, sourcing materials and financing work. Banksy on the opposing end is an example of low culture. When I say low culture I don’t me the inability to be successful or lack of technique. According to Wikipedia, low culture is a derogatory term for some forms of popular culture or pop art, which took place post 1960s. It has a massive appeal to society and it’s in contrast to the technicality of high culture, which was in the 19th century.

In conclusion, discussing these genres in relation to a specific artist that correlates with the era, it is evident that the journey of art is constantly improving for the greater good. I took a standpoint within the genre of art because using Frank Stella as an example utilized paint mediums to convey his technical skills of modernism to the pre discovering of minimalism. In the past it has been discussed that art is to convey and emotion and design is to display a purpose. However, in my opinion when I view the works of Banksy I have an emotional response towards his work because it touches upon so many controversial issues in history. Post modernism is a continuation of modernism in the way that they have a lot of the same characteristics. It is viewed that post modernism is more evolved than modernism for obvious reasons however they rather than postmodernism rebelling over the techniques of modernism they are more so questioning them and causing more buzz and attention to society on all levels and dimension.

Works Cited

Berry, Francis. “Postmodern Culture.” Postmodern Art. Gauntlet, 26 June 2006. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. <;.

Brown, Jeff. “Post Modernism vs Modernism.” Yahoo Answers. Yahoo, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <;.

Mack, Stevie. “Post-modern Artist Banksy.” Steviemack1984. wordpress, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013. <;.

Ünsal, Merve. “Minimalist Art vs. Modernist Sensibility.” Art & Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <’s-“art-and-objecthood”/&gt;.

Wikipedia, trans. “High culture.” The Free Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <;.



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