Journal article Open Access

Be Tasteful! Be Kitsch! A Critical Analysis of Social Standards of Beauty

Waldenyr Caldas

Art Style | Art & Culture International Magazine


For a better understanding, this article seeks a more precise delineation of the differences, in the broadest sense, of these two qualifying adjectives—"tasteful" and "kitsch." Thus, we must consider social, economic, and cultural barriers and the ever-present class prejudice. Without a social analysis, this kind of criticism would be impaired and, by extension, superficial. We can already see that many obstacles separate these two concepts, and the difference between both terms shows a social border. By analogy, the concepts that separate these two terms can therefore be understood, not just a limit. This separation, it seems, is much more identified with a border—the outer edge of something—than a barrier—a structure that bars passage. It would be naive to deny or ignore this conceptual tension between "tasteful" and "kitsch," although there is a stratified consumption of cultural production. The capital society, always very smart and consistent with its origins, can deal with this stratification. In this sense, a way is sought to satisfy everyone, maximize profits, and keep the status quo unchanged, which has been the logic of Capitalism since its origins and, therefore, nobody denies it. Agreeing or not, with its political-ideological practices is another issue on which we have the free will to accept it or not. This frontier has been consolidating and, at the same time, become a recurrent theme of academic discussions, mainly due to the subjective aesthetic criteria of judging an artwork, qualifying a design, or choosing a musical concert or piece of clothing, among other things.

Art Style, Art & Culture International Magazine is an open-access, biannual, and peer-reviewed online magazine that aims to bundle cultural diversity. All values of cultures are shown in their varieties of art. Beyond the importance of the medium, form, and context in which art takes its characteristics, art is considered the significance of socio-cultural, historical, and market influence.
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