The Altermodern exhibition opened at Tate Britain yesterday… French cultural theorist Nicolas Bourriaud who identified ‘relational aesthetics‘ as an emerging art movement curated it – and claims it marks the end of postmodernism and the emergence of the ‘Altermodern’.
Bourriaud’s thinking is outlined in a manifesto and will be presented in his new book, the Radicant, this month.
I wrote a piece on it for Palladium magazine, which isn’t published online. I was interested to see if the claim that postmodernity had given way to the ‘Altermodern’ would create much interest.
But maybe days when many of us have had our lives hemmed in by snow aren’t the best for wrestling with Bourriaud’s arguments about the impact of globalisation on art.
Art collectors and critics have been sceptical – one I spoke to said it was a lot to do with the Tate wanting to assert itself as cutting edge:
“Bringing in Bourriaud is just re-establishing the Tate as a brand leader,” says David Gleeson, art historian and writer. “I suspect it’s a move to show just how serious, academic and hard-hitting and in the know it is. A brand new theory will establish the Tate as international, cool, cutting edge, sharp and clever. All the major reviewers will give it pages. In a way it’s as big as the new limited edition Barbie. Anything in that bracket where they are bringing out something new knowing that there is already a demand for it, is an enviable position to be in. ”