Protect me from what I want

I love art but if you ask me what era of art and design I was drawn to (no pun intended) then postmodernism isn’t what first springs to mind…or second.

Ok, I’ll be honest, it isn’t really the period of art that I’m particularly interested in. However, I spent an enjoyable hour and a half wandering round the Postmodernism: Style and Subversion exhibition at the V&A this evening.

The exhibition charts style and the fluctuating economy’s influence on style and design from the 1970s-1990 although there are some earlier pieces too. The display is open daily and you have until 15 January 2012 to head down to South Kensington and check it out.


To be completely honest it was an odd mix, but then that is a perfect representation of the postmodernists and their departure from the clean lines and simplicity of the modernists.  Money and its influence on design was evident throughout. It was the 1980s-1990 that I liked the most though.  This was postmodernism on speed! Everything became a statement of colour, excess and almost theatrical style. In short, everything became very obviously self-aware and commercial – an accurate description of today’s society.

In 1981, famous Pop artist Andy Warhol created one of his signature silkscreen paintings – one I remember well from my art lessons at school. The big dollar sign. Plain and simple but it says it all. The world economy was booming, consumer were consuming and thus the 80s became known as the ‘designer decade’.

The end of the display asks if we still live in a postmodernist era and thinking about it I think we do. The below was the highlight of the exhibition for me. Jenny Holzer, a conceptual artist from New York, rented a billboard in Times Square and lit it up with ‘Protect me from what I want’.


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