Nature’s Gift (2017) is a controversial Postmodern Art installation currently on view at the Oakland Museum of California until January 21st but offers a good explanation of what Postmodernism is.
Art has become too theoretical and wrapped too much in philosophy that it makes it inaccessible to the average person. Not everyone gets it. Some of the newest movements and advancements in art are very hard to understand even for scholars and book worms. People who study this topic and criticize it don’t always get the artist’s intended meaning or message out of it. Modernism was cake. It was easy to understand that the artists were making fun of art. They changed drawing, painting, and sculpture into something new, but not altogether hard to understand. But then there was Postmodern Art. Even the name is confusing. Okay, so what’s the difference between Classic, Modernism, and Postmodernism and how is Contemporary Art different? Most people don’t even know when Postmodern Art began… or ended. But Postmodern Art questions everything… which is why it’s so hard to understand. And Postmodern Art is also about identity and who the spectator is as a human and as an individual. This forward-thinking sculpture demonstrates these traits perfectly. Nature’s Gift exemplifies Postmodern artwork through questions, experiences, and identity.
This is a Postmodern Art gift of smashed together neon bubble gums. The flavors are endless; there are blues, violets, pinks, and greens. Large organic 3-dimensional shapes make up this colorful sculpture as they softly change colors. One can almost taste the colors as they walk around or through the sculpture. A person might feel like an ant scouting out the sweetness of Bubble Gum Mountain. The inflated sculpture measures about 15 feet high and 55 feet long and permits spectators to touch it and to walk through it. The massive scale might make people feel like a tiny insect in comparison. The sculpture is playful like children’s candy but offers some sweet surprises for more serious art connoisseurs offering several Postmodern questions.
This work is a Postmodern Art machine that questions art unlike many benign dusty old paintings in their fading gold frames. Nature’s Gift is like a giant balloon soldier ready to challenge anything. Like all good Postmodern art, its divergence from classic museum art makes visitors wonder why it’s in the galleries at all. Nature’s Gift is ready to duke any controversy out through questioning norms. This enormous balloon being has one very apparent question. By being so unusual, the work raises the question, “What is art?” Can art be giant psychedelic inflatable balloon creatures? This inflated sculpture can also challenge high and low art. It may also raise the question, “Is Nature’s Gift pastiche?” Does it belong in a museum, should it be shown in an art gallery, or should it be used as a kitchey bounce house for some child’s birthday party? This perhaps kitchey machine produces endless questions. It is the mere questions raised that make this a Postmodern work.
…works are meant to prompt a wide spectrum of untapped emotions, from playfulness to self-reflection, enabling both personal and shared experiences – Friends with You
Nature’s Gift is a soiree. It is a ball and a banquet. It is an experience. Walking underneath the sculpture is like being in a cramped elevator or on a crowded bus ride. Walking through the tight corridor visitors can’t help but bump into one another and form a brief relationship with one another. The work is made to promote and examine the quick glances people might exchange in an elevator or the brushing of jackets on a bus. The art collective points out the similarities between their Postmodern Art efforts of human interactivity themselves. It is these “shared experiences” that bring this kind of work to the level of Postmodernism. This engaging piece is a Postmodern experience.
Another big part of Nature’s Gift and Postmodern Art is reflexivity and self reflection. Friends with You doesn’t care about erasing mistakes. They don’t care about blending and smoothing brushstrokes to make their paintings look realistic. They don’t care about using shutters and walls to cover the real materials that make up architecture. Friends with You uses the necessary materials to show the viewer the work and how it is made. There is nothing hidden, just a big inflated sculpture that changes colors. The surface of Nature’s Gift in a way seems translucent reflecting back the viewer’s own image. According to Friends with You Nature’s Gift is true to its materials and to the viewer’s identity. This piece is designed to be reflective of, not the viewer’s image, but their identity and is designed to be a way to look inward to one’s consciousness. This reflection is Postmodern.
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