(movement, 1970’s-present)


Movement in architecture, design and the arts that rejected the preoccupation of post-war modernism with purity of form and technique. Postmodernists use a combination of style elements from the past, such as the classical and the baroque, but also popular fims and magazines, and apply them to spare modern forms, often with ironic effect.

Labels like “modern” and “postmodern,” and trying to pinpoint start and end dates for each period, sometimes art historians and curators. Of course, the two times that, for practical reasons, dates need to be set are when teaching art history courses and organizing museums. Modern art typically starts around the 1860s, while the postmodern period takes root at the end of the 1950s.

The term “contemporary” is not attached to a historical period, as are modern and postmodern, but instead simply describes art “of our moment.At this point, though, work dating back to about 1970 is often considered contemporary. The inevitable problem with this is that it makes for an ever-expanding body of contemporary work for which professors and curators are responsible.

An impression of a postmodern architecture



Postmodernism is philosophical term that also applies to the arts, architecture, and design. It is a concept that rejects the pre-occupation of post-war modernism and replaces it with purity of technique and art form. Postmodern artists tend to combine the style elements of the past, like the classical and baroque, with the modern influence of popular films and magazines. Together, the execution of their artworks often exhibits an ironic effect.


Postmodernism is believed to have followed the modern art period. But while art historians and curators try to pinpoint the specific start and end of these two periods, many modern artists were already creating notable pieces influenced by this idea. The modern art period started during the 1860s, whereas the postmodern period is said to begin at the end of the 1950s.

The postmodern type of painting was first suggested by John Watkins as early as 1870. He defined it as the style that attempted to move beyond French Impressionism. Although postmodernism is mostly associated to architecture, it can also be applied to music and various art forms, as seen from 1921 to 1925 and beyond.

The formal definition of postmodernism art was mainly attributed to Jasper Johns, who outwardly rejected sense data as the singular point of view for the basis of his art. Instead, he treated art as a type of critical investigation.1

Cristo Jeanne-Claude's Running Fence

As an Art Form

Postmodernism is aptly applied to architecture rather than canvas painting. Using the same line of thought, it can also be associated to urban planning, literature, and music. Many postmodern philosophers are believed to have influenced the artistic side of the concept. These are Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida, among others.

By observation, the artworks categorized under Postmodernism art are distinctively expansive, complex, eclectic, responsive, appropriative, combining, political, feminist, site specific, non-traditional, mundane, and kitsch. It is almost the direct opposite of modernism which is simple, rigid, and uniform.2

Chris Ofili's Virgin Mary

Famous Artists

A few of the famous artists who made a mark with their postmodern artworks are Chris Ofili, Christo Jeanne Claude, Tracy Emin, Jeff Koons, and Robert Arneson. The other notable postmodernism art followers are Mike Bidlo, Judy Chicago, Daniel Flahiff, and Hans Haacke.

Famous Artworks

A handful of postmodernism artworks are now famous and on display at the most prominent art galleries around the world. A few examples are Chris Ofili’spainting entitled ‘Virgin Mary’, Cristo Jean-Claude’s photography called the ‘Running Fence’, and Tracey Emin’s installation tagged as ‘My Bed’.




Postmodernism Artists

Eva Hesse
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Felix Gonzalez-Torres
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Rachel Whiteread
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Anish Kapoor
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Richard Tuttle
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Gabriel Orozco
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Joel Shapiro
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Mona Hatoum
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Charles Ray
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Keith Sonnier
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Martin Puryear
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Bruce Nauman
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Damien Hirst
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Wolfgang Laib
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Tom Friedman
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Hannah Wilke
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists
Damian Ortega
December 28, 2008 / By The Artists

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