Contextual Studies


A term first used in the 1970’s. Used to describe art. It is a broad subject and there isn’t one clear definition. The closest to a definition you can get would be:

‘a reaction to modernism’

it had a return to traditional tools and the rise of photography. In the 80-90’s there was a return to hand drawing because in modernism there was a lack of humanism. There was an emphasis on the individual above the community. People wanted to break away from the modernism ideal. The idea of family became a tight knit community within itself as grandparents would often live in with the family as apposed to now where we have ‘social media families’.


Shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons is a good example of this because to best understand it you need to be culturally informed. This can be from movie references an example of this can be found in Family Guy season 7 episode 15 ‘Three Kings’. This episode is making reference to Steven King and then sub references to tv shows like friends as shown in this clip.



Anything goes. In modernism times you were either one or the other. Not in postmodernism though. You can represent yourself however you like culture icons such as Lady GaGa are the best examples of this.


Question Meaning.

This was largely informed by semiotics “Does it have to mean that?” This is a way of defining your own path.



Irony was a big thing. It is to use something for more than its intended purpose and can be best shown through sarcasm.


Kitsch and Bad Taste.

Kitsch means “a bit naff”. It is knowing that things are bad and using them anyway with no distinction between high and low culture. Jeff Koons is an example of this using cheap materials in childish ways such as balloon animals and in turn turning them into high end fine art.


Another example in my opinion would be this hairstyle.



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