Postmodern art has its roots in Dadaism – a movement in the early 20th century that rejected the art establishment and made nonsensical pieces. Younger artists in the 1950s began to feel that the mainstream abstract expressionist art didn’t speak to their lives in any meaningful way, so postmodern art began as a reaction against modern art.
Previous art movements aimed for a form of pure expression that was free of context, whereas postmodern art is highly contextual. Modern art was seen by many as elitist and dominated by white male westerners, while postmodern art sought to be more inclusive of different perspectives.
Rather than being a single coherent movement, the term ‘postmodern’ describes an attitude that rejects modernism and embraces subversion. Any medium can be used, and works often include visuals taken from mass media – this art form blurs the lines between what is considered “high culture” and that which is “low brow”.