I don’t know if Ben Davis has been reading Henri, but what the hell, I’ll say it – it sure reads like he does. WELCOME Ben – c’mon in – the POMO’s fine! Or more to the point – the Demise of POMO is totally Bitchin’ Dude! Ben winds out the recent history of POMO in a discussion about whether or not it still exists for art and artists. He takes the economic route to understanding in the end, finding the cultural and theoretical ones crammed with traffic and going nowhere…
It’s a wonderful, thoughtful piece about our current theoretical dilemma, and it comes to the conclusion of many other art writers – we’re in a transition:
“As of this writing at least, what we have looks like a minor inflection in the dominant ideology, not any full-blown change of direction. Glance again at the factors Lyotard lists above as providing the correlate for “postmodernism,” and ask yourself, how many of these things have actually been reversed? None. If anything, for the moment, there seems to be a radicalization with regard to all of them — the instability brought on by “vigorous” economic competition, the erosion of U.S. hegemony, the lack of a political alternative that anyone can believe in, etc. So, where, finally, are we at? On the level of theory, you have the waning of something, but an inability to articulate anything that actually sounds like an alternative.”
I take issue with that last statement. We’ve been discussing these problems for quite a while. And we’ve offered a few new ideas about where we might find fertile ground to make new painting. Oh well, I guess you just can’t make that horse drink the water – even if your hosing it down. These days it seems the discussion of the “end of Postmodernism” really is – the new black.