Remodernism is a word for the current feelings and ideas of many artist (and musicians) these days. Many artist have had enough of flashy, shallow post-modernism and are ready to move on. For ages, artists have struggled to relate their art to the experience of everyday people. I guess the aim is to try to have everyone appreciate their art more fully, and then go out and buy it. The problem is that it is sometimes hard to do this while still maintaining artistic integrity: producing works which are profound and important, honest and effective. Post-modernism was a “nice try” in its efforts to make art real by deconstructing all of the assumptions of the past. It tried to erase the distinctions between serious and commercial art; between Eastern and Western art; between specific forms or styles. What you see in a post-modern gallery is a lot of collage and pastiche and giant campbell’s soup cans. I think this quote (ref?) really sums up the post-modern idea: “The music of modernity, however, was viewed primarily as a means of expression while the music of postmodernity is valued more as a spectacle, a good for mass consumption, and an indicator of group identity.” This was really a movement for the 20th century… a movement for the Global Community.

It’s when you take a step back and look at something in wide-angle that you sometimes discover just how terrible it is. Post-modernism tried so hard to connect with the people that it forgot that the best way to connect with people is to be a real person yourself… so have real goals and address real issues. You have to have ways to evaluate art… because if there is no such thing as good or bad art, then there is no such thing as an artist in comparison to a man. It’s time for artists to get serious about their work again. This is something that, thankfully, most musicians and painters and other artists are doing. Remodernism is one fancy word for this new focus. Like all great movements in history, this one probably is barely a definable movement at all, and it certainly doesn’t agree with itself. In fact there are many things about Remodernism to turn and flee from, but I think it has some good points:

(from a Remodernist Manifesto:)

3. Remodernism discards and replaces Post-Modernism because of its failure to answer or address any important issues of being a human being.

4. Remodernism embodies spiritual depth and meaning and brings to an end an age of scientific materialism, nihilism and spiritual bankruptcy.

7. Spirituality is the journey of the soul on earth. Its first principle is a declaration of intent to face the truth. Truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be. Being a spiritual artist means addressing unflinchingly our projections, good and bad, the attractive and the grotesque, our strengths as well as our delusions, in order to know ourselves and thereby our true relationship with others and our connection to the divine.

10. The making of true art is man’s desire to communicate with himself, his fellows and his God. Art that fails to address these issues is not art.

“Today’s art [post-modernism] is not art. Its working methodology is to think of something which is not art and to call it art. This is exactly Duchamp’s ideology.” (Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)

Of course all artist get off on bashing the styles and revelations of the previous generation, but I sincerely believe that with the death of post-modernism we have witnessed a serious close-call. I hope we never again see the day when some idiot slaps two subway cards and a cat skeleton on plywood and says “what does it mean to you?” … or when someone records their intestinal noises and calls it his new symphony. It’s time for anyone who calls themselves an artist to wake up every day and paint and paint and paint.

(Katherine Gardner, Susan Finlay’s Statement of Intent):
“As Camberwell art students… it is easy to become bogged down in a quagmire of post- modernism, intellectualising bad objects under the pseudo-intellectual guise of satire. We say death to irony. [Remodernism] has our full attention and admiration… We are sincere – none of this pretentious non-art. We are sensitive, creative people. Why should we be dull, repetitive and mainstream, when there is the opportunity to be brave and original.”



Matt Bray

Kent, United Kingdom

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