Modernisn, post-modernism, and photography

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

Game Over, or, Where shall we look?

By Virginia Smith

5 June 2009

The following article was submitted to the WSWS by a guest contributor.

Virginia Smith is a designer, design historian and Professor Emerita of Art at City University of New York. She is a member of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) and publishes art criticism as well as books, recently: Forms in Modernism: The Unity of the Design Arts, Watson-Guptill, 2005, available at

A question provoking observers of contemporary visual art is this: What will come after Post Modernism? Accepting a linear progression of art historical movements, critics and historians place a work of visual art within the style dominating its moment of arrival. What makes the next movement in the continuum important, even shattering, for us now, is that we have lived during the decades of a great historical moment called Modernism, we’ve watched it flourish and spread, seen it die, and observed a new phenomenon of reaction arise, called Post Modernism.

Now, as the once firm ground beneath our feet destabilizes, we’re rocked looking at the remains of aggressive and boastful Post Mod behemoths, like the wreckage of the ideas they incarnated. And we have to wonder: what turn will the energy expressed through artists take us next? From photographers like Paul Graham we see “a shimmer of possibility” that our time might be most faithfully expressed through a new photography.

Paul Graham, Woman

See also here.

3 thoughts on “Modernisn, post-modernism, and photography

  1. Interesting post. What will come after postmodernism? What do you think of the various paradigms that have been suggested, like Raoul Eshelman’s performatism, Nicolas Bourriaud’s altermodernism, and my own digimodernism?


  2. Hi Alan, it is always basically very hard to impossible to predict the future, including in art. The WSWS article by Virginia Smith suggests one possible direction; you name three others. Probably, certainly initially, various tendencies will exist side by side, I’d say.


  3. Pingback: Neo-nazi networks in United States armed forces | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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