Publication Details

McLean, I. (2014). Modernism without borders. Filozofski Vestnik, 35 (2), 121-139.

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Filozofski vestnik


In recent times revisionist histories have sought to reposition modernism in the light of today’s postcolonial globalism. In seeking to assess such revisionism, this essay addresses the metaphysics of modernism through the lens of its otherings—in particular its othering of indigenous art—in two bookend moments. The first is at the dawn of modernism, in the cosmopolitan criticism of the critic and poet Charles Baudelaire, whose theory of modernité is widely considered a prototype of classical Western modernism. The second is in the twilight of modernism, mainly in the influential postcolonial critique of Okwui Enwezor. Motivated by the quest to redeem African modernism, he embarked on an ambitious project of reconfiguring (re-mapping) the project of modernity in the light of postcolonial globalism, as if, like Bourriaud, he wants to “create a form of modernism for the twenty-first century.”