The Greenberg Paradox: The Effects of Modernism and Kitsch in Contemporary Art

13 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2010

See all articles by Jose Luis Mejia Razo

Jose Luis Mejia Razo

Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) - Campus Ciudad de Mexico

Date Written: December 9, 2009

Abstract

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

Mejia Razo, Jose Luis, The Greenberg Paradox: The Effects of Modernism and Kitsch in Contemporary Art (December 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584568 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1584568

Jose Luis Mejia Razo (Contact Author)

Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) - Campus Ciudad de Mexico ( email )

Calle del Puente #222
Col. Ejidos de Huipulco
Tlalpan 14360, DF 14380
Mexico

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