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The postmodernism frame is a new frame of artwork that has been introduced into the art culture. It’s a form of experimental contemporary art movement, this form of art breaks the boundaries and challenges the audience’s perception. It involves the use if words or images from the past for a new purpose, including mass media, popular culture, new non-traditional media and methods and diversity throughout the artwork.
There are many characteristics that are incorporated in this frame containing, appropriation, challenging the notion of originality, combining strategies such as humour, irony and parodies, using new technology, using non-traditional materials and new forms of displays and shock tactics. This frame produces many different reactions from the audience, challenging them to understand and embrace the artwork. Postmodern art presents a new way of viewing reality, and inspiring the audience to consider issues from more than one perspective. Many artists are starting use this medium but the artist that will be the focus of this essay includes Jeff Koons with his famous “Balloon Dog” and “String of Puppies”.
Jeff Koons, born in New York, Pennsylvania, in 1955, makes a living by turning everyday objects into art. He has coated some of his sculptures with gold plate, chrome or stainless steel to turn kitsch objects into precious, high art objects. Kitsch objects are considered to be in poor taste but (with a great artist) it can be appreciated in an ironic way. He is commenting on the ‘fake luxury’ of the American consumer culture of the 1980’s, and highlight the throwaway nature of the artworks.
Koons’ work questions the nature and influence of popular culture and its relationship to issues such as status, race, gender and identity. Jeff’s methods include sight specific art, which is artwork created to exist in a certain place. This means, before Jeff even makes his artwork, he decides the location of it mainly to shock the audience. His intentions are to show the balance between control and giving up control and the grace of humanity.
The materials he uses in his artworks vary from stainless steel and gold plate, to plants and wooden structure, to computer-aided design. He is influenced by visiting baroque churches in Europe and the postmodern society of the 1980’s and 90’s. His artwork “Balloon Dog” was made from 1993-2000, it is made from stainless steel finished with a translucent coating of either blue magenta, orange, red or yellow. The balloon dog is about archetypes, connecting people to the monumental and daily life. It reflects joys and uses different colours to communicate that every colour is perfect. It resembles the human race, as we breathe in air it blows up and when we exhale it deflates, this links back to another one of his artworks “Puppy” as it too represents human life as the flowers will die over the seasons. Koons even said “I’ve always enjoyed balloon animals because they’re like us. We’re balloons. You take a breath and you inhale, it’s optimism. You exhale, and it’s kind of a symbol of death.” The artwork is in the postmodern frame as it uses new technology to create it. This creates a message showing the same way we are dependent on breathing to survive we are dependent on technology to live.
Another one of his artworks caused significant controversy and met with international media coverage. Koons was taken to court, in 1990, over his life-size wooden sculpture of a man and woman holding eight German Shepard puppies, called “String of Puppies”. Apparently Koons had violated copyright law when he appropriated a photograph from a greeting card. This artwork used appropriation and humour to show another perspective of an already made artwork to the audience.
Jeff Koons uses the postmodern frame to express himself and the human race and he uses many materials. He uses new technology, appropriation and parodies to show the cycle of life and uses air-made things to express it.
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