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Rethinking Postmodernism

Tuesday, November 17, 2009, 6:45pm

A program of Gord Peteran: Furniture Meets its Maker

Lecture featuring Dr. Glenn Adamson

In the recent history of art and design, no term is as contentious as “Postmodernism” – a set of radical ideas that mounted a challenge to the progressive ‘grand narratives’ of Modernism. Today, Postmodernism has a confused and not entirely positive reputation. Often it is seen in retrospect as a dead end that offered nothing more than cynicism and irony. Its characteristic objects (furniture made from plastic laminates, image-rich corporate architecture, and unwearable fashion) can seem more than a little dated. Yet it is impossible to understand today’s art and design world without grasping the impact of Postmodernist ideas. These radical gestures fundamentally changed the nature of creative practice, bringing a new pluralism and freedom. In this talk, Dr. Adamson will present the approach that he and his colleagues are taking to the rethinking of this difficult subject. Focusing particularly on the production of Postmodern objects, he will examine the strategies undertaken by designers at this time, particularly those involving the use of the readymade and the handmade. He will also draw connections between the 1980s and the present, two periods marked by the rapid rise and fall of a culture of luxury and excess.


OCAD Central Hall, Room 230, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto

Title Image: Gord Peteran, An Early Table, 2004. Twigs, string. 91cm X 101cm X 43cm. Courtesy of William Anderson. Photo by Elaine Brodie.

Page Image: Installation view of Gord Peteran: Furniture Meets its Maker, 2009. Image credit: Toni Hafkenscheid.

'Installation view of Gord Peteran: Furniture Meets its Maker, 2009. Image credit: Toni Hafkenscheid"

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