Originally Posted by mafoofan
Wikipedia has some interesting tidbits on the origin of the term:
Problem with this categorization is that it ties "modernism" to particular places and times. Intellectually, "modernism" and "post-modernism" don't reflect different eras, but divergent (and opposed) schools of thought. A contemporary designer can be either a modernist or post-modernist (or some blend of the two, I guess).
Corbusier is perhaps the archetypical modernist, yet most of his work was done prior to World War II. Jasper Morrison is a contemporary designer, but soundly in the modernist camp. Tom Dixon is contemporary and, in my view, more of a post-modernist.
Similar issues come up in discussing art. It is difficult to ascribe an overarching movement to the contemporary art scene, though each contemporary artist can be viewed as having either modernist or post-modernist leanings.
Excellent points and I'm guilty of condemning broad strokes all while painting my own. I'm giving a general categories which will help toward better definitions than 'MCM' which now is so broad in practical use that it's not much of a worthwhile category. Trying to avoid hard time frames as they tend to create a lot of exceptions.
If a practical reference could be made, it would certainly have it's failures, but may be quite useful to someone who simply wants a better understanding of the distinctions between say Frank Lloyd Wright and Ray/Charles Eames.
Bauhaus School can be somewhat rigidly defined, as we can simply note the participants.
Danish Modernism - a timeframe does become difficult here as you have early standouts like Henningsen and Koch, etc.
American Studio Craft Movement - The MET defines this as post WWII, but some of the major players have work that predates WWII.
American Modernism - This is a tricky category as it can easily paint some fairly broad strokes, but I think practically speaking we're talking about post WWII industrial design like Eames, Nelson, etc.
All of these are often grouped in with 'MCM'.