Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven

Dennis McNulty, The Crash, 2011 with FACETIME, 2011

Dennis McNulty, The Crash, 2011 with FACETIME, 2011

suspended ceiling elements, tiles and ratchet straps; dimensions variable; and poster, 33 x 40 inches

courtesy of the artist and Green On Red Gallery, Dublin; commissioned by Bureau for Open Culture

What ever happened to postmodernism? We never really got a handle on it. It hung around from the early 1960s until the late 1990s in an elusive, nebulous, shape-shifting form. It teased and taunted us, appearing occasionally to take a position that would help us comprehend the architecture, art, music, television, video or film of any given moment during those years. Its combination of intellectual cachet, intrigue and down-and-dirty dealings with popular culture made it a catchall phrase for everything. Postmodernism, however, had none of the tidy habits of its eminent forebear Modernism. No slotting of ideas and disciplines into easy categories. This precarious condition contributed to its uncertain and unceremonious dissolution, which feels fitting for a thing so abstract, so difficult to know yet so pervasive.

Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven arises from postmodernism fallout. It explores our relationship with time embodied in continual cultural transformations, whether always “making it new,” recycling the past or awash in social media and online content. These inquires are made in relation to discourses on Modernism, postmodernism and our current moment of super-hybridity, where infinite sources aggregate into one super gigantic whole. In this rapid circulation of images and ideas, where everything is always accessible, our relationship to material culture, real-time experiences and the built, spatial environment has certainly changed. But into what?

Taking its title from the 1984 album of the same name by the British pop band Love and Rockets, Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven seeks to generate ideas about contemporary life in the wake of postmodernism and, of course, the remaining detritus of modernist dreams. What happens when something so prevalent gives way not necessarily to another movement but to a technology that flattens and relativizes all levels of culture? Ahhh, the Internet.

Do we remember what it means to yearn for something?

Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven archive

Flickr photostream Columbus College of  Art & Design venue

Flickr photostream Bennington College venue

Guy Ben-Ner, Joachim Brohm, Gerard Byrne, Malcolm Cochran, Peter Dayton, Ben Kinsley, Lara Kohl, Jeremy Kost, Mark Leckey, Mary Lum, Dennis McNulty, Timothy Nazzaro, Johannes Nyholm, Pipilotti Rist, Cassandra Troyan, Jeffrey Vallance, Alejandro Vidal


James Voorhies


Bennington College, Bennington, VT
Apr 5—29, 2011

Columbus College of Art & Design, OH
Jan 27—Mar 12, 2011

Made possible with grants from Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council and Sociedad Estatal de Acción Cultural with support from Columbus College of Art & Design and Bennington College