KITSCH—THE EVILS OF BAD ART.

KITSCH. Kids, you should know that there were influential philosophers and critics in the last century who believed that bad art was bad for society and, presumably, should be eliminated. This wikipedia article on kitsch describes the views of some of the people who thought that kitsch presented important issues for society. The article cites Theodor Adorno and Herrmann Broch as having sought to “define avant-garde and kitsch as opposites.” The article suggests they were following Kant in viewing the main elements of bad art as “the presence of sentimentality and the lack of originality.” For Adorno, “[kitsch] helps serve the oppression of the population by capitalism by distracting them from their social alienation.” Kids, I said that these critics were influential. You will recognize in the following two quotations from the wikipedia article three notions that still have enormous sway in the art world: good art must be original; good art should seek to achieve political and social change; good art rejects beauty. First, “[F]or Adorno, art is supposed to be subjective, challenging, and oriented against the oppressiveness of the power structure.” Second, “[Broch] argued that kitsch involved trying to achieve ‘beauty’ instead of ‘truth’ and that any attempt to make something beautiful would lead to kitsch.”

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One Response to KITSCH—THE EVILS OF BAD ART.

  1. Pingback: “AVANT-GARDE AND KITSCH”. | Pater Familias

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