Monday, October 17, 2011

Postmodern teapots

If the official death of modernism (according to Charles Jencks) was 15th July 1972 at 3.32pm (Central Time), then postmodernism's official birth was at 3.33pm. The death of postmodernism, however, is more problematic, and while some believe it was 9/11 that bought a close to the movement, others believe it is alive and well in all of us, but particularly in Lady Gaga.

In the 1980s, postmodernism – a cut and paste mish mash of appropriated styles – seemed to be about going to work in a shoulder-padded suit, making loads of money, listening to Grace Jones and Talking Heads on a Sony Walkman, reading The Face magazine, returning home to a glossy designer flat full of bright, bold Memphis furniture and Alessi kitchenware with a Jeff Koons/Barbara Kruger print on the wall, and generally being flash, superficial and vacuous.

What it wasn't about was sitting around drinking cups of tea. That would be the impression one got, however, after visiting the V&A's exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990, which consists of an inordinate amount of whacky designer teapots, none of which were actually made to be used. Which leads me to conclude, was postmodernism really just a storm in a teacup?

Teapots by Peter Shire and Memphis Group
Make your own Peter Shire teapot
The ultimate postmodern home

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