Express Yourself - Brad Holland
October 30, 2005 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Express Yourself, It's Later Than You Think (warning - tiny grey type. also available here with original illustrations and an all over the place old-style table layout.) Illustrator Brad Holland defines some basic terms of Postmodern Art. For additional reading, see his memories of hanging out at the Playboy mansion with Shel Silverstein.
posted by TimTypeZed (14 comments total)
Postmodernism rejects metanarratives, by definition. This article is a list of metanarratives. I'm not sure I get it. But interesting descriptions.
posted by stbalbach at 4:11 PM on October 30, 2005

I like Holand's illustrations. His descriptions of art movements are at times mildly amusing (I'm asuming that was his attention) but certainly do not match his stated attempt of trying to explain "art" to the layman.

On preview, stbalbach pinpoints the problem.
posted by beelzbubba at 4:18 PM on October 30, 2005

Metafilter: the miracle of authenticity!

(it's toward the bottom...)
posted by gimonca at 4:52 PM on October 30, 2005

But these days, the middle classes aren't paying attention. They're all on Jerry Springer or Ricki Lake talking about their cross dressing experiences or sex with the baby-sitter.

Clearly he can't tell the difference between the middle class and the poor.
posted by Cassford at 5:35 PM on October 30, 2005

Metafilter: If you're confused about it, that may mean you understand it
posted by blue_beetle at 5:40 PM on October 30, 2005

Postmodernism rejects metanarratives, by definition. This article is a list of metanarratives.

I'm not sure this is a contradiction. Is he presenting the article (or himself) as actually representative of postmodernism? And, beelzbubba, is he actually TRYING to explain the art world? Seems to me he's just using the "Postmodernism For Dummies" conceit to satirize certain elements/atributes of the art world. For example:

The typical Modern artist produces a small body of work wrapped in theory. Some even dispense with the work itself and exhibit only their theories, typed up on paper. To me, this seems a sensible economy of style. If the purpose of art is to redefine art, then words should do the trick. There's no use cluttering up the world with redundant examples.
posted by brundlefly at 1:12 AM on October 31, 2005

Isn't satirising the art world regarded as some sort of amusing recursion these days?

I can only take so much navel gazing from the art world. Then again, introversion is extroversion and black is the new black....
posted by alexst at 2:17 AM on October 31, 2005

The intent isn't to seriously educate anyone about any art movements. I think this is more about the conflict between commercial or applied arts and fine art, between ideas of craftsmanship and expressing your individuality. It's interesting to me that Holland is so opposed to many of the ideas of modern art, because as an illustrator he must have been one of the first to toss aside fidelity to the written text, replacing that with work that more likely expresses his individual reaction to the text, or that seeks to add to the written article - instead of being dependent on it - by surrounding it with images that establish a certain kind of mood.
posted by TimTypeZed at 3:48 AM on October 31, 2005

> Postmodernism rejects metanarratives, by definition.

Yep, that's one of its metanarratives.
posted by jfuller at 5:29 AM on October 31, 2005

Notes to self:

No more dogs in my paintings.

Stop having a point. If you have a point, you'll get compared to prisoners naively painting their own experiences on shirt cardboard or to inauthentic advocates like Jane Fonda who never lived in a Vietnamese village.

Keep Brad Holland away from my exhibits.
posted by surplus at 5:33 AM on October 31, 2005

It sometimes feels to me like the only sincere artists left in the world are the ones who draw pictures of Harry Potter being buggered by Dumbledore. They don't have a point or a message; they just know what they want to look at and make pictures of it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:46 AM on October 31, 2005

Thanks for that TimTypeZed. There are some real gems there. Reminds me a bit of other satyrical dictionaries, like Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas or, of course, Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary. There's some good stuff here. And the link to Holland's site was a treat.
posted by wheat at 5:52 AM on October 31, 2005

You know, I kind of have to agree with Faint of Butt, here. Yes, clearly, art with a message is a glorious and wonderful thing... but I find myself reacting more deeply to works by people like Chihuly, say, or Christo.

They're not beating us over the head with messages or theories or ideas. They're just creating beauty. Which is, of course, a message in and of itself-- but it's not quite the same.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:29 AM on October 31, 2005

Postmodernism rejects metanarratives, by definition.

Postmodernism rejects what I say it rejects.

I mean, isn't that the whole point of postmodernism? If anyone wishes to contradict me, please do so angrily.
posted by poweredbybeard at 5:01 PM on October 31, 2005

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