Postmodernism and History.
POSTMODERNISM EVOLVED OUT OF concept art - it was a concept about art itself.
But what it meant in architecture and design was different from its interpretation in visual art. For an art student at the time it could mean projecting a slide onto a minimalist cube, or it could involve a novel fusion of disparate disciplines, whereas in architecture the term might be associated with a novel use of traditional elements - walls peeling away from each other, roofs turned upside down or buried beneath forests, the working innards of an edifice such as the Pompidou Centre exposed as elements to complicate the outside, or, as in Philip Johnson’s AT&T building, a sheer high-rise culminating in a ‘Chippendale’ pediment, as if the building were a vast wardrobe - hailed as a seminal idea in 1978.
At the time I failed to see why. Since the invention of the girder, sky-scrapers had been going up hundreds of floors, all austere and modern, and then blooming into Gothic cathedrals, in a mock-Victorian fashion, to embellish the penthouse.
POSTMODERNISM WAS A MOVEMENT pioneered by Italian critics and designers, but at the same time it was an extension of London panache as expressed by the ‘swinging sixties’. It could be argued that Joseph Losey started it all with his film of Peter O’Donnell’s comic strip heroine Modesty Blaise in 1966. This emphasised sets and costumes over story line, and what sets! An op-art cornucopia for the eyes.