There is no more art.

No. 14 1960, Mark Rothko

There is no more art.

Do we read too much into art? The age-old question of what is the relationship of art and the spectator. What’s the point of art? Essentially use value of art objects are next to nothing. They are not utilitarian and society could theoretically function without art.

But we live in a postmodern world. Postmodernism is a term that is thrown around a lot and is assumed by some to be common knowledge. I do not think that is true so here is a quick and dirty breakdown of the ideology of postmodernism. Postmodernism is a philosophical ideology that emerged in the late 20th century and focuses on the deconstruction of self, non-narrative speech, and the challenging the normative notion of euro-centrism. This mode of thinking engages also the intersection of race, gender, class etc. I realize that I am throwing more big words and concepts at you in order to explain another complex concept. What is comes down to is that there is no longer absolute truth and that life is nothing but a social construct. So following this logic there is no more art. There is no truth.

All these things may seem like second nature to us today, but this is just another way to mark our position and proves that we currently live in a postmodern society.

All this is foundational to how we look at art today. Our mode of looking is no longer confined to “What does this mean?” “What does this symbolize?” I am sure that you can see where I am going with this in looking at the relationship of how we now look at art because we live in a postmodernist society.

Many people don’t see further than the face value of the presented imagery in modern art objects. I am here writing to all of those cynics, here let us take a minute to look at the deconstruction of form and the meaning behind some classical postmodernist pieces.

Take this painting by Mark Rothko, No. 14 1960, (1960.) Though Rothko refused to identify with a specific art movement, he is emblematic of postmodernism and can help articulate the concepts of the deconstruction of the art object.

This painting consists of only a few colors, dark hues of red and blue. The canvas is also 114 1/2 in. x 105 5/8 in. in size. As you can imagine this completely intimidates the human spectator and puts the emphasis not on the importance of the individualism but rather the deconstruction of normative notions of traditional fine art. There is no more art, Rothko has shown us that there is nothing left but the simplest forms and colors. Materiality is irrelevant.There is no truth or narrative representation in postmodern pieces.

All of this analysis is not to prove the meaninglessness of art. It is to do the opposite. It is to the mundane existence of material culture.

We live in a postmodern world. We must not simply just look at art, we must read it. Art is not dead, there is simply no more truth.