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  • Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990

Pavitt, Jane, 2011, Show, Exhibition or Event, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990

Abstract or Description:

‘Postmodernism’ was the final instalment of a 12-year series of V&A exhibitions exploring 20th-century design. It examined a diverse collection of creative practices in art, architecture, design, fashion, graphics, film, performance and pop music/video, which the curators, Pavitt and Adamson (V&A/RCA), identified under the common theme of ‘postmodernism’. The exhibition assessed the rise and decline of postmodern strategies in art and style cultures of the period, exploring their radical impact as well as their inextricable links with the economics and effects of late-capitalist culture. The exhibition comprised over 250 objects, including large-scale reconstructions and archive film/video footage, drawn from across Europe, Japan and the USA. It was the first exhibition to bring together this range of material and to foreground the significance of pop music and performance in the development of postmodernism.
Pavitt originated and co-curated the exhibition with Adamson. They shared intellectual ownership of the project and equal responsibility for writing and editing the accompanying 320-page book (including a 40,000-word jointly written introduction), but divided research responsibilities according to geography and subject. The research was conducted over four years, with Pavitt leading on European and British material. This involved interviewing artists, designers and architects active in the period and working with collections and archives across Europe. The research led to the acquisition of c.80 objects for the V&A’s permanent collections, making it one of the most significant public collections of late-20th-century design in the world.
The exhibition was critically reviewed worldwide. For the Independent, ‘bright ideas abound at the V&A’s lucid show’ (2011). It attracted 115,000 visitors at the V&A (15% over the Museum’s target) and travelled in 2012 to MART Rovereto, Italy (50,000 visitors) and Landesmuseum Zürich, Switzerland (70,000 visitors). Pavitt was invited to speak about the exhibition in the UK, USA, Poland, Portugal, Ireland and Italy (2010-12).

Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V370 History of Design
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2011 14:47
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2013 16:09
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/630

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