by Curtis F. Brown
Universe Books, 1975
Kitsch is all around the daily life
of Mr. and Mrs. Average American--all you have need is a keen eye to spot
it. Kitsch, as the author says, is the only true art of the American middle-class.
Kitsch is what happens when you want to show you social class, but you
don't have the budget or would rather have your art with a utilitarian
ppurpose (ie, an ashtray featuring portraits of the Founding Fathers).
Star-Spangled Kitsch shows us how all aspects of our lives
are touched with kitsch and now to tell true kitsch culture from camp culture.
Their definition is such: "Although both kitsch and camp may evoke the
rapturous response 'It's not to be believed!' kitsch is blissfully unaware
of being anything but appealing and desirable. Camp, however, offers incongruities
in glorious self-awareness." Star-Spangled Kitsch shows us
presidential kitsch, religious kitsch, interior design kitsch, literary
kitsch, architectural kitsch, fine art kitsch, Hollywood kitsch (a rather
redundant phrase), kitsch in advertising, sports, sex, and much more. He's
an example of how something becomes kitsch: Grant Wood's classic Americana
painting American Gothic--not kitsch. Grant Wood's classic
Americana painting American Gothic as a jigsaw puzzle or
on bathtowel--kitschville, baby! They say beauty is only skin deep, but
ugly (and kitsch) goes straight to the bone. How true. How true.
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