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Postmodern Art and Pop Culture at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

Homage to Levi-Strauss ziggurat dress

At London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, “Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970–1990” is a romp through two decades of excess and provocation—and the final installment in a series of seminal blockbuster shows that have included Art Deco, surrealism, and Modernism. The exhibition, curated by Glen Adamson and Jane Pavitt, is the first to cover the postmodern period in depth, tracing the movement’s origins as an architectural style to its influence on pop culture in art, film, graphics, fashion, and music. Expect to see bold colors and patterns, with ample servings of parody and irony. Among the 250 objects on display are the drawings for Philip Johnson’s AT&T building (1984) in New York City; a re-creation of Jenny Holzer’s illuminated billboard Protect Me from What I Want (1983–85); and stage costumes for Annie Lennox, Devo, and David Byrne (his big suit from the 1984 documentary Stop Making Sense). Exhibition surprise: a video room playing New Order’s 1986 single “Bizarre Love Triangle,” the epitome of the aesthetic overload of the eighties—and postmodernism (through Jan. 15, 2012).

Photo by V&A Images

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