TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT April 2003

UNHAPPY RETURNS: THE PO-MO DECADE

Were the ’80s the postmodern decade? The word abounded. Buildings and clothes were designed in its name. Philosophers angrily disputed its significance; critical battle lines were drawn. Great period chars were plotted like Chinese menus. But two decades after the excitement, what does po-mo look like today?

Consider the critical trajectories of Fredric Jameson and Jean Baudrillard. Both were prominent figures, quite different from one another, though each had a background in the Marxist criticism of the '30s. Writing from California, Jameson imagined the whole new era was summed up in the alienating “disorientation” one felt in hotels like John Portman's Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles. Lost in its lobby, without any “cognitive map,” Jameson found an allegory of a supposedly late phase in capitalism (coming before what?), which explained the kind of space to which French theory had

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 2003 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.