Postmodernism reflects a widespread disillusionment with life, as well as the power of existing value-systems and/or technology to effect beneficial change. As a result, authority, expertise, knowledge and eminence of achievement has become discredited. Artists are now far more wary about "big ideas" (. all 'progress' is good). Most important, "Modernist art" was seen not only as elitist but also as white, male-dominated and uninterested in minorities. Which is why postmodernism champions art by Third World, Feminist and Minority artists. However, critics say that - despite its supposed "rejection" of big ideas - the postmodern movement seems to have lots of big ideas of its own. Examples include: "all types of art are equally valid"; "art can be made out of anything"; "the democratization of art is a good thing" (how about the democratization of brain surgery?).
Anti-authoritarian by nature, postmodernism refused to recognise the authority of any single style or definition of what art should be. It collapsed the distinction between high culture and mass or popular culture, between art and everyday life. Because postmodernism broke the established rules about style, it introduced a new era of freedom and a sense that ‘anything goes’. Often funny, tongue-in-cheek or ludicrous; it can be confrontational and controversial, challenging the boundaries of taste; but most crucially, it reflects a self-awareness of style itself. Often mixing different artistic and popular styles and media, postmodernist art can also consciously and self-consciously borrow from or ironically comment on a range of styles from the past.