Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kitsch is Now, Probably Dead or Dying

One thing that seems to be prevalent today in fine art is kitsch.  At first, there was some kind of an ironic play rooted in postmodern academicism going back to the 80's (perhaps earlier) and beyond.  Many artists started to turn to kitsch as a conceptual, tongue in cheek, "I know this is kitsch, but I am doing it consciously, therefore it is high art" kind of way.  Now, this is so pervasive, that bad art and kitsch are hallmarks for what seems to be an entire generation.  One look at the art of today and it becomes obvious that being bad is the only way to be "good".

The referencing of kitsch is no longer about popular culture or bad, unconscious art, it is about fine art itself.  There are a multitude of styles and genres being generated, especially in painting and it is all bad in one way or another.  I think we have all become accustomed to this reality and no longer question it.  It connects to most culture today, especially Internet culture, like motherboards and Internet memes, which seem to favor "low-techism" as a pathway to self-expression.  It is an aesthetic of choice, founded upon increasingly tiring notions that progress was bad as a modernist ideal.

Nothing should become too comfortable in art.  Art is and should remain a way of searching out possible new paradigms, shifting consciousness in new directions, offering potential revelations, being aware, but not to the point of redundancy.  Either art, fine art that is, is dying before our eyes, or we are going to have to find something else to draw upon to plant seeds for a new generation to come.