Monday, 25 May 2009

What is Kitsch ?

A 30yr Intellectual in the late 1930’s writing for a communism magazine saw Kitsch as ….

Kitsch is a German word
Kitsch is a rearguard to art’s avant-garde
Kitsch is popular , commercial, art and literature, magazine covers, illustrations, ads, slick and pulp fiction, comics, tap dancing, Hollywood movies.
Kitsch is a product of the industrial revolution.
Kitsch is culture for the proletariat and petty bourgeois newly settling in cities.
Kitsch is ersatz (bogus, artificial, pseudo, fake, pretend) culture
Kitsch is for those insensible to the values of genuine culture.
Kitsch is produced mechanically.
Kitsch is its own salesman and presses (sells aggressively) every member of society.
Kitsch is deceptive The New Yorker magazine is high class Kitsch
Kitsch is not altogether worthless – now and again it produces something of merit.
Kitsch is capable of producing great profits – a source of temptation to the avant-garde(!)
Kitsch is on a triumphal tour of the world – crowding out and defacing local culture.
Kitsch is irresistible.
Kitsch is enjoyed without effort.
Kitsch is an inexpensive way in which totalitarian regimes seek to ingratiate (suck up to, crawl, grovel to) themselves with their subjects.
Kitsch is pliable.
Kitsch is easy to inject with effective propaganda.
Kitsch is a dictator’s way of keeping in close contact with the ‘soul’ of his people

Clement Greenberg (1909-1995) Avant Garde and Kitsch first published in
Parisian Review , New York VI no.5 , Fall 1939, pp 34-49 reproduced in
Harrison, C., Wood, P. (eds) (2003) Art in Theory 1900–2000, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers Ltd

No comments:

Post a Comment