Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990

The first thing you see in the V&A's major autumn exhibition is an image from 1975 of one of Alessandro Mendini's 'Lassú' chairs in flames.

What was a cover shoot for the artist's Casabella magazine has become a stark metaphor for the death of the modernist idiom at a time when the aesthetic floodgates opened in a riot of subversion, parody, exuberance and kitsch.The first thing you see in the V&A's major autumn exhibition is an image from 1975 of one of Alessandro Mendini's 'Lassú' chairs in flames. What was a cover shoot for the artist's Casabella magazine has become a stark metaphor for the death of the modernist idiom at a time when the aesthetic floodgates opened in a riot of subversion, parody, exuberance and kitsch.The exhibition traces the development of Postmodernism from its beginnings as a provocative architectural movement through to its influence on all areas of popular culture. Finally, the complex relationship between Postmodernism and the hyper-inflated commodity culture of the 1980s is shown both through the designs of the products themselves and the art that was created in response.

Don't miss

The keen retrospective eye of the curators has thrown up a rewarding mix of the mainstream and the obscure, and it is worth the ticket price solely for the video of German opera singer Klaus Nomi performing Lightning Strikes in an over shoulder-padded, shiny tuxedo.Highlights include the subversive designs of the Italian collectives Studio Alchymia and Memphis; graphics by Peter Saville and Neville Brody; 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.Catalogue offerSave £8 on the exhibition catalogue with your National Art Pass.


Venue details

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) Cromwell Road London SW7 2RL 020 7942 2000 www.vam.ac.uk

Entry details

£6 with National Art Pass (Standard admission £12)

Daily: 10am – 5.45pm
Fridays: 10am – 10pm

To book visit the V&A website or call 020 7942 2000

What the critics say

the-times

There are many routes through Post-Modernism, and you can't help thinking about what wasn't included. But the curators have chosen a strong path and executed it with style. Iit is an important photograph of a photograph of a time that, while almost yesterday, seems like forever ago. And it doesn't come more Po-Mo than that.


the-guardian

The result is revelatory, a ground-breaking history of a recent cultural past that has, almost without us noticing, gone from the cutting edge to the museum.