Best Definition of Postmodernism

September 9th, 2004 · No Comments · Education

Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1948

Annie Sprinkle said that “postmodernism means never having to say you’re sorry” (I thought about linking to her official website, but, it’s Annie Sprinkle, the performance artist/porn star/sex guru, so I thought better, and linked to an book instead, just so you know before you click on the link).

But today in 20th century Art History from 1945, we were talking about why the postmodernists hate Jackson Pollock (isn’t that wild?). They hate him because he believed in the Jungian idea of the universal unconscious, and based on that, he thought that when all people from all cultures across time everywhere looked at his paintings, they would tap into that unconscious and be transported to a higher plane.

The postmodernists decided Pollock was evil because of his presupposition of universalism. Pollock thought that everyone, no matter whether they are a Martian or a farmer in Tennessee, would be affected by his work in the exact same way, and that is his big sin in the eyes of the postmodernists.

So the best definition of postmodernism that I’ve ever heard? In the postmodern world, all forms are historically and culturally specific. That means that a postmodernist would think that a Martian might just look at Pollock’s Number 1 and scratch his bulbous green head in confusion. And that’s an okay response to have.

Category: Education

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