V&A presents Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Super Lamp by Martine Bedin © V&A Images

For the third year running, the V&A became the central hub of creativity at the 2011 London Design Festival. One of the many displays launched under the V&A’s roof for the occasion is the exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 - 1990, which runs until 15 January 2012. It is an in-depth survey of art, design and architecture from the time which examines the Postmodernism phenomena in all its complexity.

Grace Jones maternity dress 1979 © Jean-Paul Goude
The exhibition explores the radical ideas of Postmodernism that overthrew purity and simplicity in favour of exuberant colour, bold patterns, artificial-looking surfaces, historical quotation, parody, wit, and a newfound freedom in design.

Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990 © V&A Images

On display at the exhibition are the 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.

Supremely Black by Haim Steinbach, 1985 © V&A Images

Professor Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, said: "It feels right to hold this exhibition now, 40 years on from when the first ideas of what we now know as Postmodernism emerged. Many of our visitors will have personal recollections of the time and can reflect on the impact of Postmodernism on their lives as well as on the wider design culture and practice."
‘Consumer’s Rest’ chair by Frank Schreiner, 1990 © V&A Images
"There are so many layers to the subject that we hope that the younger generation will be interested to discover more about this dramatic period of art and design history, and its lasting impact."

WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can watch out for more coverage on this event on the website over the next few weeks, as we explore the lasting legacy of Postmodernism on design.