Jean Baudrillard has been referred to as "the high priest of postmodernism." Baudrillard's key ideas include two that are often used in discussing postmodernism in the arts: "simulation" and "the hyperreal." The hyperreal is "more real than real": something fake and artificial comes to be more definitive of the real than reality itself. Examples include high fashion (which is more beautiful than beauty), the news ("sound bites" determine outcomes of political contests), and Disneyland (see below). A "simulation" is a copy or imitation that substitutes for reality. Again, the TV speech of a political candidate, something staged entirely to be seen on TV, is a good example. A cynical person might say that the wedding now exists (for many people) in order for videos and photos to be made—having a "beautiful wedding" means that it looks good in the photos and videos! Baudrillard often writes in an exaggerated or hyperbolic style (following his philosophical forefather Friedrich Nietzsche), so that it is hard to know whether he is serious or tongue-in-cheek. (Perhaps it does not matter!)
Quotations Part 1: From "The Precession of Simulacra," in Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation, Ed. Brian Wallis (New Museum 1984), 253-281. Precession of simulacra: the map precedes the territory. "It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire but our own: The desert of the real itself." (p. 253)
These would be the successive phases of the image:
—it is the reflection of a basic reality —it masks and perverts a basic reality —it masks the absence of a basic reality —it bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum. In the first case, the image is a good appearance—the representation is of the order of sacrament. In the second, it is an evil appearance—of the...