The Greenberg Paradox: The Effects of Modernism and Kitsch in Contemporary Art
13 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2010
Date Written: December 9, 2009
In his 70 years old essay, Avant-Garde and Kitsch, Clement Greenberg stated that the artistic movements, referred as avant-garde and modernist, were the antagonist figure to the synthetic and commercial art named kitsch, which was one of the cultural outputs of the modern class-differentiated society and accelerating consumer’s culture combined with the permanent folk factor1 in societies. Far from criticizing the implications of the theory behind the term coined by Greenberg, this paper intends to analyze the influence of modernity and kitsch in contemporary art and theorize - under the term of “The Greenberg Paradox” - the process in which kitsch is inserted, used or reinterpreted in new artwork, then considering several variables, this resultant new piece is highly valuated - both in qualitative and pecuniary terms.
Keywords: Contemporary Art, Modernity, Kitsch, Avant-Garde
JEL Classification: LIT, PRN
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation