Metamodernism: The Return of History

Metamodernism: The Return of History

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Mariechen Danz, Knot in Arrow: the Dig of No Body (still), 2011. Courtesy Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin.

August 25, 2014

Metamodernism: The Return of History
September 25, 2014

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Museumplein 10
The Netherlands




As part of its ongoing Public Program, the Stedelijk Museum proudly presents the Metamodernism: The Return of History. Structured as a day-long discursive event (from 11am until 11pm), the museum invites such internationally renowned speakers as Francis Fukuyama, Michel Bauwens, Hassnae Bouazza, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Bojana Kunst, Nina Power, Cally Spooner, Adam Thirlwell and Camille de Toledo to reflect on the discourse of a generation born in the 1980s: from the historical fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, moments of global (financial and/or political) crisis in 2008 and 2011, to the present moment we collectively call contemporary.

More than 20 years after his essay “The End of History,” Francis Fukuyama wrote another article on the subject of History, tellingly titled “The Future of History.” Here he argues that the victory of liberal democracy was a tenuous one. Liberal democratic governments all over the world have increasingly failed to deliver on their promises, political extremism is on the rise, the middle classes (the traditional stronghold of democracy) are shrinking, and the recent Twitter lawsuits, WikiLeaks, and the Snowden files have problematized 20th-century notions of freedom of speech. In addition, new governance models have been revealed: China’s state-regulated market system, Russia’s crony capitalism, Brazil and India as rapidly developing economies where the idea of democracy is established and nominally enacted. It seems that there are plenty of “big questions” left to answer. History may have, to use John Arquilla’s apt expression, “bended,” but it has certainly not come to a halt.

In the midst of these developments, the postmodern discourses on society, culture, and the arts feel increasingly outdated. Cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker have proposed abandoning this term for another: metamodernism. In light of recent socio-economic changes and contemporary forms of artistic production—such as the New Engagement in the arts and the New Aesthetic in design, the New Sincerity in literature and the New Weird in music, Quirky Cinema and Quality Television—they theorize metamodernism as a structure of feeling that emerged around the turn of the millennium. For them, the 2000s—seen as a historical period rather than a temporal decade (and ranging from the late 1990s to 2011)—served as a passage from late capitalism to a fourth and global stage of capitalism and from a postmodern cultural logic to a metamodern one.

In response to their proposition, the Metamodernism: The Return of History seeks to draw a cognitive map of our present in order to grasp the changing contours of our everyday lives, and explore the consequences of the end and the return of History for the generation that came of age in the meantime, particularly as seen through the lens of the arts. Promised a life of peace and plenty, of consensus and comfort, the generations born in the 1980s and 1990s are now confronted with an increasingly uncertain existence. Confident and confused, assertive and anxious, isolated and connected, pampered and poor, they try to come to terms with this rather unforeseen reality and the not-so-foreseeable future.

For more information and the full program, please click here.

Public Program
Autumn 2014
In addition to the Metamodernism: The Return of History, the Stedelijk continues its acclaimed Public Program with an extensive program of performance, film, media and discursive programs that focus on such themes as performativity and technology; art in the era of global financial crisis; the relationship between subculture, dance, and contemporary art; and global collaboration between art institutions. Please find some of the highlights of the program below:

A series of new commissions and performance projects by internationally acclaimed artists.

Will Holder: Abstraction Création / Art non-figuratif – September 4
Quinsy Gario: A Village Called Gario – September 18
Wu Tsang ft. boychild: Untouchable – October 2
Hito Steyerl: The Museum as a Battlefield (Part 2) – November 27
Emily Roysdon: By Any Other Name (Part 2) – November/December
Tim Etchells: A Broadcast/Looping Pieces – December 7

Lecture series Aesthetics of Crisis
As a response to the phenomenon of ‘global crisis,’ this lecture series aims to address the question of crisis through the topics of the reorganization of time, labor and finance, and the (im)possibility of their aesthetic representation.

FINANCE: Brian Holmes and Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann – September 14
–LABOR: TJ Clark and Sharon Lockhart – October 9
–TIME: The Raqs Media Collective and Sven Lütticken – October 30

The exhibitions Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden, Bad Thoughts – Collection Martijn and Jeannette Sanders, On the Move: Storytelling in Contemporary Photography and Graphic Design, and How Far How Near will also be accompanied by a Public Program, comprised of lectures, public interviews, gallery talks and symposia.

For the full program, please check our website or
Stedelijk newsletter
Stedelijk on Facebook: Stedelijk 
Stedelijk on Twitter: @Stedelijk
Previous Public Program events are streamed on Vimeo

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Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
August 25, 2014

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