Avant-Guard vs. Kitch

Satisfactory Essays
Topics: Art, Modernism, Pop art
Maude Place
Modernism
31C
4/12/13

Reading Response: Week 2

In Clement Greenberg’s essay, “Avant Guard and Kitsch,” he divides art into two different categories: Kitsch and the Avant-Guard (genuine art or inauthentic works). He touches upon the marginalization of the Avant-Guard artists in the modern world because of the irresistible nature of Kitsch. Mass media being an art form developed from the industrial revolution is scrutinized within Greenberg’s essay for being of a lesser value aesthetically but also rendering art to be less valued culturally. In the essay, “The Arts and the Mass Media,” Lawrence Alloway argues Greenberg’s interpretation of significant art by explaining that it is mass media art that has opened up greater channels of communication internationally, as well as, successfully reflected and supported the expanding nature of culture.
Clement Greenberg writes in “Avant Guard and Kitsch,” that the Avant-guard art protects aesthetic standards within the newly developing consumer society. Greenberg argues that Kitsch removes a certain respect (much like the idea of the totem) granted with a work of an irreproducible fine art. He explains that Kitsch is unauthentic and changes according to a mere “style,” lacking any profound meaning, and will not stand the test of time. Furthermore, Greenberg explains his belief that Kitsch is ‘academic,’ meaning that it is an art form that it is stable in its consistent nature and self-perpetuating. Alloway disagrees directly with Greenberg in his article, “ The Arts and the Mass Media,” by directly expressing he believes mass media art is actually anti-academic. Mass media is an art form that is constantly influenced by new technological advancements, as well as other variables of the everyday life, and it is because mass media art accompanies the changes of life that time becomes part of the piece itself. The work becomes a physical documentation of an era or time period, almost capturing time within

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