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Showing posts from February, 2015

The Kitsch of Avant Garde

"Kitsch" and "Avant Garde" have had widely expanded definitions in the growing years. The roots of such terms may have indeed started at opposite ends of a cultural or societal spectrum, but more and more in the 21st century, the two have intersected; the intersections at which such subcultures as Twee and Hipster spawned from. Such terms have indeed shaped both mainstream and counterculture in the 20th and 21st centuries, but no one has attempted to compose a thorough critique of such terms, since the 1939 essay "Avant Garde and Kitsch" by Clement Greenberg.

The piece argues that kitsch comes from a desire to appreciate culture by those who could not digest the more high fluent culture of the then aristocracy.  "To fill the demand of a new market, a new commodity was devised: ersatz culture, kitsch, destined for those who, insensible to the values of genuine culture, are hungry nevertheless for the diversion that only some sort of culture can provide…

The Met Design seminar!

So, this is kind of a belated post, but I was in New York a couple of weeks ago and got to attend a design seminar for teens interested in museum/curatorial studies! I'm just going to explain what we did here, nothing fancy and without the usual complicated flourishes.

First we heard from each of the panelists on how they got their job. Many of them had started out with other majors and even other jobs that just led them to museum studies. Then, we split off into groups. I chose to go with the panelist that was like a curator's assistant for the curators at the costume institute. We examined the recent exhibit, Death Becomes Her, an exhibition on mourning clothing. We analyzed the subtleties of the exhibit. For example, we discussed possible ways the exhibit could've been organized. The exhibit was organized (pretty loosely) to the stages of mourning, the outfits at the beginning were stiffer and darker, the outfits at the end were lighter and allowed more comfort, in typic…