Victoria and Albert Museum, London
24 September 2011 – 15 January 2012
Cromwell Road
London
020 7942 2000
www.vam.ac.uk

This exhibition is the first in-depth survey of art, design and architecture of the 1970s and 1980s, examining one of the most contentious phenomena in recent art and design history: Postmodernism. It shows how postmodernism evolved from a provocative architectural movement in the early 1970s and rapidly went on to influence all areas of popular culture including art, film, music, graphics and fashion.

The exhibition explores the radical ideas that challenged the orthodoxies of Modernism;
overthrowing purity and simplicity in favour of exuberant colour, bold patterns, artificial looking surfaces, historical quotation, parody and wit, and above all, a newfound freedom in design. Many modernists considered style to be a mere sideshow to their utopian visions; but for the postmodernists, style was everything.

Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990 brings together over 250 objects across all genres of art and design, revisiting a time when style was not just a ‘look’ but became an attitude.

On display are the subversive designs of the Italian collectives Studio Alchymia and Memphis; graphics by Peter Saville and Neville Brody; architectural models and renderings including the original presentation drawing for Philip Johnson’s AT&T building (1978); paintings by Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol; Jeff Koons’ stainless steel bust of Louis XIV (1986); performance costumes including David Byrne’s big suit from the documentary Stop Making Sense (1984); excerpts from films such as Derek Jarman’s The Last of England (1987); and music videos featuring Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones and New Order.