Modernism , Postmodernism
The youth culture of the 1960s represents the threshold between modernism and what , in most circles , passes for postmodernism . On the one hand , it is clearly an extension and reinvention of the historical avant-garde , and , on the other , it signals the increasing obsolescence of the (modernist ) divide between elite and mass culture , between the artisanal and the mechanically reproduced . Reacting against the universalizing tendencies of high modernism (from abstract expressionism to the international style , and its dedication to seriousness abstraction , and elegance , the new artists delighted in extending the [banner_entry_middle]
br range of art , in juxtaposing the exalted and the abject , the sacred and the profane , in being vernacular and relevant , and in rudely transgressing bourgeois norms . From the point of view of post-modern theory , the recent history of popular music can be seen to be marked by a trend towards the open and extensive mixing of styles and genres of music in very direct and self-conscious ways . Put very simply , the argument about the transition between modernism and postmodernism in pop music can be seen as the Beatles in the 1960s . The songs of the Beatles drew explicitly on diverse classical and popular forms and made a claim to what was for pop a new kind of musical and lyrical seriousness
Postmodernism first emerges out of a generational refusal of the categorical certainties of high modernism . The insistence on an absolute distinction between high and popular culture came to be regarded as the ‘unhip ‘ assumption of an older generation . One sign of this collapse can be seen in the merging of art and pop music . For example , Peter Blake designed the cover of the Beatles ‘ Sergeant Pepper ‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Jameson (1991 ) distinguishes between modernist and post-modern pop music , making the argument that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones represent a modernist moment , against which punk rock and new wave can be seen as post-modern . In ‘Popular Music and Postmodern Theory , Andrew Goodwin (1991 ) quite correctly argues that for various reasons this is a very difficult position to sustain . The Beatles and the Rolling Stones are as different from each other as together they are different from say , the Clash and Talking Heads . In fact ‘it would be much easier to make an argument in which the distinction is made between the artifice ‘ of the Beatles and Talking Heads and the authenticity of the Rolling Stones and the Clash (55
Perhaps the best way to think of the relationship between pop music and postmodernism is historically . In most accounts , the moment of postmodernism begins in the late 1950s-the same period as the emergence of pop music . Therefore , in terms of periodization , pop music and postmodernism are more or less simultaneous . This does not necessarily mean that all pop music is post-modern . Using Raymond Williams ‘s model of social formations always consisting of a hierarchy of cultures- ‘dominant ’emergent ‘ and ‘residual ‘-post-modern pop music can be seen as ’emergent ‘ in the 1960s with the late Beatles , and the… [banner_entry_footer]
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