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New Left Review 59, September-October 2009


Owen Hatherley

POST-POSTMODERNISM?

How should the artistic production of the current period be defined? The aesthetics of the neoliberal age have proved difficult to pinpoint. [1] Nicolas Bourriaud, The RadicantLukas & Sternberg: New York 2009, €15, paperback192 pp, 978 1 933128 42 9 In architecture, typically postmodernist devices seem to have entered a terminal decline, as historical eclecticism and glib ironies have been replaced by rediscoveries of modernist forms—albeit emptied of political or theoretical content—in the showpiece buildings of figures such as Norman Foster or Daniel Libeskind. In the realm of art, meanwhile, the wilful amorality and egoism of the 80s and 90s, whether of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin, has given way to an ostensibly more serious, high-minded tone and a revival of interest in 20th-century avant-gardes. But does this trend represent a break with postmodernism—or does it merely mark the arrival of a pseudomodernism of the gallery, to go with the pseudomodernism of contemporary architecture?

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