Event Title

Jeff Wall and the Metamodern

Faculty Mentor

Karen Stock, Ph.D.

College

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Department

Department of Fine Arts

Location

DIGS 114

Start Date

20-4-2018 3:15 PM

Description

Art has long since extended beyond the tradition of aesthetic beauty as a measure of merit and into a new tradition of deconstruction and politicization. However, contemporary art has seen an emergence of a new optimism entirely uncharacteristic of postmodernism. Jeff Wall exemplifies the transitionary figure of the modern to the contemporary. His documentary style of photography rejects narrative exploration and instead forces the viewer into the role of voyeur. This dialogue of discomfort is entirely unlike the passivity of viewing in a museum, rather it creates an intimate moment of sheer intentionality in which the viewer is imposing upon the work. Wall encourages the intellectual engagement between history and his work and plays with the line between commercialism and artistry. This is not the inaccessibility of postmodernism, instead an invitation for viewer interpretation and an exercise in analysis and wonderment. Furthermore, Wall does not reject the realm of classical high art but instead incorporates the geniuses of art history’s canon into his photography. This attention to the role of the viewer in generating meaning, reemergence of classical forms, and intertextuality of the contemporary and postmodern has established Jeff Wall as a true metamodernist and one of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Course Assignment

ARTH 454 – Stock

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Apr 20th, 3:15 PM

Jeff Wall and the Metamodern

DIGS 114

Art has long since extended beyond the tradition of aesthetic beauty as a measure of merit and into a new tradition of deconstruction and politicization. However, contemporary art has seen an emergence of a new optimism entirely uncharacteristic of postmodernism. Jeff Wall exemplifies the transitionary figure of the modern to the contemporary. His documentary style of photography rejects narrative exploration and instead forces the viewer into the role of voyeur. This dialogue of discomfort is entirely unlike the passivity of viewing in a museum, rather it creates an intimate moment of sheer intentionality in which the viewer is imposing upon the work. Wall encourages the intellectual engagement between history and his work and plays with the line between commercialism and artistry. This is not the inaccessibility of postmodernism, instead an invitation for viewer interpretation and an exercise in analysis and wonderment. Furthermore, Wall does not reject the realm of classical high art but instead incorporates the geniuses of art history’s canon into his photography. This attention to the role of the viewer in generating meaning, reemergence of classical forms, and intertextuality of the contemporary and postmodern has established Jeff Wall as a true metamodernist and one of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.