Blowhard, Esq. writes:
In discussions of literature and architecture, I still come across would-be intellectuals who invoke art critic Clement Greenberg’s distinction between the avant-garde and kitsch. Of course, for such people avant-garde is doubleplusgood, while kitsch is one small step above Nazism. If you’ve never read Greenberg’s original essay, it’s worth checking out, if only for examples of the art Greenberg dismisses:
Where there is an avant-garde, generally we also find a rear-guard. True enough — simultaneously with the entrance of the avant-garde, a second new cultural phenomenon appeared in the industrial West: that thing to which the Germans give the wonderful name of Kitsch: popular, commercial art and literature with their chromeotypes, magazine covers, illustrations, ads, slick and pulp fiction, comics, Tin Pan Alley music, tap dancing, Hollywood movies, etc., etc.
That’s a pretty good list of the most popular and beloved American art ever created, not to mention hugely influential on world culture. Question du Jour: Why do people insist on generalizing and theorizing from their own preferences about what is “good” or “the best”? More importantly, why are others so apt to take such pronunciations seriously?
- Lloyd has been working his way through some classic comic strips.