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The time of modernism was an era of transformation. Styles branched away from the traditional and the classical status quo. Postmodernism occurs when many things have been done, challenged, or tried. The difficulty artists faced was whether or not new things and styles can be introduced and created. Topics, styles, and traditions have been used and have become stagnant. Artists were challenged to create “new”. This is how the concept of pastiche was recognized. Think of pastiche as a new style is the best way to understand this. Pastiche is a word used to describe the characteristics of remakes and parodies. Pastiche is “an imitation that announces itself as such and that involves combining elements from other sources” (Sturken & Cartwright, 328). The new style of art during postmodernity is that of imitation and remake, with qualities of pastiche. Controversially, pastiche’s collage, assemblage, montage can appear to be thrown together with no cohesion, however, this style has much history built within it.
In the 17th century, the concept of pastiche became a concept among famous art. 17th century Romans copied the classical painting of Greeks. Romans used the phrase pasticcio meaning “a mess” or “bad work”. This phrases turned into qualities to describe art. The idea of combining miss matching styles to create one work was considered “bad work” until spectators found the art to be aesthetic. The idea of pastiche was not only found in ancient times but also postmodern art (Hoesterey, “Postmodern Pastiche”, 496).
Pastiche is the combining of elements from various cultures and styles, in order to create a new style, artists were inspired by others. In the 17th century pastiche was used to describe a mess, while during postmodernism, pastiche is “a powerful personal style that holds everything disparate together” (Hutcheon, 324). The “everything disparate” are the old traditions and styles. This concept evolved and became a prominent idea during the 19th century postmodernism time. Art became reproductions of other styles that have already existed. One could call it inspiration or imitation, but this art is not entirely original. Pastiche is showing appreciation for and is flattering to the original artist and style, unlike parody which mocks the original.
Postmodern art was primarily concerned with the aesthetic. This is with regards to literature, visual art, architect and music (Hoesterey, “Postmodern Pastiche”, 496). This concept of hybridity can be used as a tool, more than just aesthetic. There tends to be characteristics of historic and current qualities (Hutcheon, 324). We are able to see an aspect of pastiche within all types of mediums. Paintings, sculptures, literature, music, and architecture all can incorporate various unoriginal styles and techniques that when combined and incorporated together, make a new form of art. Some argue that these collages are not cohesive and are made up styles that clash. Critique of these types can be demonstrated in Fig. 1.2 . The functionality of these assemblages come into question. Are the style choices functional, aesthetic or easy to produce?
The most obvious current example to recognize this approach to creating new is through modern architecture. For example, McMansions. McMansions have historical qualities that demonstrate pastiche through their design. McMansions are intended to alleviate the difference between modern suburban homes and custom homes (Fullerton Heritage). Custom homes move away from the cookie cutter home. Pastiche is a quality of the effort to create new out of the old, and McMansions have traditional, modern, and new characteristics. In Figure 1.1 , this McMansion has at least 4 characteristics that are from past styles. Queen Anne, French eclectic, and tenuously colonial are styles from early 20th century. These styles are all combined to create this extravagant custom homes.
An example of postmodern pastiche in architecture is the Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans (Fig. 1.3) . “Postmodern architecture attempted to communicate to the public and be context-sensitive, sensitive to the existent environment, a chronic weakness of functionalism” (Hoesterey, “Pastiche: Cultural”, 33). The plaza in New Orleans was intended to represent the Italian heritage in the area. The plaza had architectural styles that we supported by spectators, but also critiqued. The architecture was urban, colorful, cartoonish, and joyful, while most postmodernists would use classical elements. Moore, the artist wanted to evoke joy and pride through his work while other expected the structure to communicate memory (Brake, 2015).