Kitsch is victorious


This photo from an underground (below street level) shop in the Plaka neighborhood of Athens shows some things for sale.

The Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary says that the American connotation of kitsch (or kitch) is:
“showy art or cheap, decorative objects that are attractive to people who are thought to lack any appreciation of style or beauty”
The same dictionary defines the British understanding of the word as:
“art, decorative objects, or design considered by many people to be ugly, without style, or false but enjoyed by other people, often because they are funny”

Another definition from Collins English Dictionary is:
“tawdry, vulgarized, or pretentious art, literature, etc, usually with popular or sentimental appeal”

In it’s definition of kitsch, Merriam-Webster gets downright snooty and says:
“1 – something that appeals to popular or lowbrow taste and is often of poor quality”
“2 – a tacky or lowbrow quality or condition”

Yeah but who decides what is “lowbrow”, a bunch of “high brows”?

(I think that the election of Donald Trump was based on the reaction by a very large group of Americans categorized by the elite as cultural “lowbrows” getting their revenge. It was a cultural election.)

Moving on…
The perhaps kitsch lamp in the photo supported by the maiden whose peplos has conveniently been rolled down caught my eye. Before I was dragged away, I wished to ask whether this item is for interior or exterior display. I wondered as well the provenance of the piece and some of the other knick-knacks in the store. Were they all recovered from the recent excavation at Amphipolis and to what archaeological period could they be ascribed? The lamp – paleoelektrik, mesoelektrik, or neoelektrik? The questions remain unanswered.


One thought on “Kitsch is victorious

  1. I usually start to write these post based around a photo of something, for one reason or other, I thought interesting. This one veered pretty quickly off-course and into a discussion of class (lowbrow vs highbrow) which can be seen as basically, but not always (as in the case of Mr. Trump), an economic separation.

    Yet if a porcelain teddy bear with a baby’s face emerges from the studio of a big shot artist like Jeff Koons then all is well, because the “highbrows” like it too.

    Though I haven’t researched yet. I’m fairly certain that there must be a Ph.D thesis or two out there on the subject of who says kitsch is kitsch.

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