Prof: María Eugenia Díaz Sánchez
Universidad de Salamanca
The course will explore the evolution of innovative trends in aesthetics since 1960s. Art suffers a
change of the dominant perspective from a focus on outside references to a focus on itself. The
constructed reality of the art work is more important than the outside references. Postmodern
Visual Culture: film, digital media, and critical theory as well as traditional visual forms of
expression such as painting and sculptures will be discussed: the New York school of abstract
expressionist painters, Pollock, De Kooning, Pop Art, Concept Art.
Students are expected to be able to trace the development of postmodern art, from the ‘Literature
of Exhaustion’ and ironic Metafiction of the 1960s and 70s, in Nabokov and others, to later texts
in which Postmodernism is more readily engaged with issues of media, history and allegory.
Students will be asked to use the theoretical material studied in the course to develop critical
positions to texts and works in general studied in class.
1. Introduction to the main themes of the class
Hutcheon, “Theorizing the Postmodern” Chapter 1 of The Poetics of Postmodernism. An exploration of major
20th-century aesthetic movements through an in-depth consideration of particular texts (drawn from writing,
art and film) and the critical theory related to them. Contemporary verbal and visual approaches on which
students may draw in developing their own solutions to problems of writing and design.
2. Avant-Garde as the Self-Criticism of Art in Bourgeois Society. Readings: Brian McHale,
Postmodernist Fiction (1987) (Derrida)
3. The Autonomy of Art. Entropy, information and interpretation, Paranoia: Pyncheon, The
William Gass and Paul Auster
4. Narrative practices: quest, drift, etc., postmodern identity, the culture of consumption, the
specular, innocence and experience, meta-commentary and the possibilities of critique.
Acker’s The Empire of the Senseless · narrative modes
Smithson´s earth art.
5. The Problem of the “The New” Chance, Montage
Visual Arts: Peter Greenaway
Architecture: Paolo Portoghesi Postmodern
The course will consist on lectures and seminars. Class participation will be strongly
encouraged. Visual material will be handed in in class for in-class discussion but also feedback
on selected texts will require of a written response by the student.
materials we will be covering in class.
Report: A 6-7 page report and 15-20 minute class presentation will be on a specific topic from
the syllabus. The report will be based on this presentation and is due the same night. The short
oral presentation of your report should last no more than 15 minutes. In it you will discuss your
findings on the relationship between a general topic and modern or postmodern American art,
with specific examples provided from some of the art works mentioned in class.
Participation and written reports: 40 %
Written in class exam: 40%
Roland Barthes, “The Reality Effect”
Burger Theory of the Avant-Garde
Benjamin “Author as Producer”
Baudrillard, “The Precession of Simulacra”
T. Docherty “Introduction (to Postmodernism)” Postmodernism, A Reader
Jameson, “Beyond the Cave. Demystifying the Ideology of Modernism”
Jameson “Reification and Utopia In Mass Culture”
Jameson, Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
Hal Foster The Return of the Real
Hal Foster, “Postmodernism: A Preface” in The Anti-Aesthetic
Hutcheon, The Poetics of Postmodernism
Brian McHale, “Towards a Poetics of Cyberpunk”
Lyotard “What is Postmodernism?”
Lyotard “Note on the Meaning of Post”
Marcuse, “Affirmative Culture”
Hayden White “The Historical Text as Literary Artifact”
Contemporary Philosophy, Critical Theory and Postmodern Thought
"The Postmodern," "Postmodernism," "Postmodernity": Approaches to Po-Mo
Includes basic premises, key works, criticisms, leading figures, and methodologies.
Postmodernism :A New Model of Reality
Xenos Christian Fellowship: Postmodernism and You