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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time for some schoolin'

A post on another blog* mis-used the word "modern" to describe some chairs prompting a blood vessel to burst in my brain. I have lost the capacity for speech, but I am still able to type up a quick summary of a few common design malapropisms.

"modern" - refers to a period when artists shrugged off notions of traditional methods and forms, roughly the late 19th century through the 1950s in Western cultures.

"postmodern" - literally what comes after modern, a reappraisal of what "modern" ideas and conceits are. From the 1960s until now. See Memphis and Frank Gehry.

"contemporary" - typically in design this refers to a non-"traditional" look created within the last 10 - 15 years.

*Not to worry, it did not appear on any of my homies' blogs.

15 comments:

erin@designcrisis said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Although I'm sure I have thoughtlessly called something that is contemporary "modern."

When I was in art school (grad in 2003), the consensus seemed to be that pomo was dead. Then I think that no one could decide on a replacement term/movement, so now we're just in pomolimbo.

Lazy ass art historians really need to get on that.

Today's baby name: Sucleo

Raina said...

"Pomolimbo" - the most brazilliant thing I've read all day.

What a fab name for a design firm.

Alicia B Designs said...

Woah I'm so stressed. I hope it wasn't I. That's right--grammar lesson.

Raina said...

Nope, not you Miss A. One of the big kahunas that's been around for ages.

Designers' Brew said...

Um, am obvi dying of curiosity as to the identity of the perp.

While we are on the topic of grammar and usage: today's AM New York (one of the free 20-page dailies they hand out in subway stations) had a feature on new slang, and they proposed that the uber-gay abbreviation for the word "totally" which I personally am addicted to is spelled "toats." I vehemently disagree. "Toats" looks like "toots," but misspelled, and furthermore who decided it was a good idea to introduce that rogue A into the mix? Proper syntax for nicknames and abbreviations dictates it should be "totes." Next they're going to suggest "obvi" should be spelled with a Y.

erin@designcrisis said...

"Toats?" What is that? Sounds like there are toads in the moat.

Alicia B Designs said...

Of course it's totes! I practically invented that word. I have two friends who spell it TOTS and it kills me. Tots=kids.

Camilla @ Designalogue Blog said...

I apologize for all grammatic and spelling mistakes I have made thus far and bound to more so in the future!! Try and think of them as quaint cute as button mistakes!!!

Camilla @ Designalogue Blog said...

Oh & also have to include my 'rant' on this general topic, I'm not sure if its a common problem in other English speaking parts of the world, but here in Australia there is an annoying habit that some people make far to often for my liking, when pronouncing 'something & anything'
These words do NOT end in a K - SomethinK, AnythinK - NO, No & NO. Its very annoying & really worries me about my countries future when I hear it on TV!

Raina said...

Everything you do is cute as a button, 3M. That extraneous "k" sounds very Eastern European.

Camilla @ Designalogue Blog said...

AW!! but I assure the offenders of the 'K' are not of Eastern European influence!

karly / design-crisis.com said...

thank you. can you broadcast this to the masses who aren't following design blogs. I would love to see it in pamphlet form handed out to all the HGTV watchers

susieq said...

Raina, you'd be stuck in a permanent state of cringe if you overheard some non-designer Southerners talk of anything not traditional. "Art Deco" is the catch-all. Really. It's used frequently on craigslist to describe anything slightly contemporary.

nkp said...

You lady, are a fount of knowledge, information, and inspiration. Thanks!

lucitebox said...

In my world of vintage clothing a lot of people call new clothes "modern clothes." That always bugged me, too. These days, I think they just tend to call it "trendy." That's also not right. Vintage clothing purists seem to preface things with "those trendy eBay sellers, not that I have anything against them, but..."whenever they want to talk about someone selling vintage '80s and '90s.

Believe me, there's a fair amount of kvetching about how much money some dealers make on '80s and '90s fashion, so it's hard not to see "trendy" as a put-down.

I say more power to anyone who can make something old look fresh in a new context. But calling it modern (or even trendy when it's a decade or two old) just don't make no sense.