Monday, 24 December 2012

Recalling the Aesthetic Spirit of Architecture (R. T. Meeker) II

"The aesthetic sense is a synergetic capacity involving intellect, emotion, motivation, memory, communication, and perception. The magic of the aesthetic experience, in both nature and art, exists in the marvelous potential for communion between kindred spirits. Since belief in this notion has little currency in our time, we nostalgically turn to works of art fashioned in more spiritually imbued times and cultures. When spiritually impregnated, nature and art may raise consciousness and arouse the soul by charging the emotions, stimulating the intellect, stirring old memories, firing the imagination, provoking us to act, to reach out, to communicate. We are moved by the aesthetic experience because it reconfirms our belonging in the cosmos, in nature, in the community, and ultimately in ourselves.
A critical method for evaluating architecture aesthetically should account for and examine all of the parameters of the architectural problem holistically: people and their purposes, physical and cultural contexts, historical and topical precedents as well as functional requirements, building technology, and budget constraints. Then, when the critic refers to what is "appropriate, right, and fitting" about a building, these terms may credibly refer to one or more parameters of the problem. Parametric analysis as a critical method raises the critique above the level of tastes by addressing the whys and wherefores of our personal preferences. After all, the critic can only persuade; he cannot dictate an aesthetic evaluation. This method situates aesthetic evaluation where it belongs: among the contending values, intentions, and impulses of the designers, builders, observing participants, and historical precursors, whose mindsets and world views may be compatible or irreconcilable. Parametric analysis further permits the critic to relate his subjective considerations about architectural intangibles-such as light, shadow, space, ambience, vista, proportion, harmony, beauty, formal dynamics, and other aesthetic terms-to the architectural tangibles expressing the built form in response to the parameters of that particular problem."

Meeker, Robert T. (1983) "Recalling the Aesthetic Spirit of Architecture". Journal of Aesthetic Education. pp 97.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Recalling the Aesthetic Spirit of Architecture (R. T. Meeker) I
"What is the domain of architecture? What is the nature of the architectural problem? How should we perceive and define that problem? What is the nature of the aesthetic sense? What is involved in the aesthetic experience of architecture? Since the aesthetic experience is subjective, what is a viable concept of the self, of the individual? What is the relationship of the individual to society? Since architecture is a collective cultural expression, what does it say about and how does it reflect the culture of its time and place? What does architecture reveal about the structure and dynamics of a society and that society's relationship with nature? What is the role of the architect in society, both as a public professional and as an artist? Is the architect an artist, since often as not the architect is a member of a collective agency? When is architecture an art? How does architecture achieve historical significance?

Architectural aesthetics could become a central focus of architectural theory again, for it conditions most issues concerning the nature of architecture. If authors would recall the aesthetic spirit of architecture, address the issues squarely, illustrate them aptly, and discuss them in terms that architectural practitioners, educators, and students understand and use, then the countervailing arguments could revolve around common themes and begin to resolve the dialectic of architectural theory."

Meeker, Robert T. (1983) "Recalling the Aesthetic Spirit of Architecture". Journal of Aesthetic Education. pp 93-94.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Kitsch (F. Gualdoni)

"Around 1860 in Germany the expression Kitsch starts to grow, indicating an aesthetic operation of counterfeit and pastiche. The etymology is indicative: Kitschen means the act of building old furniture with old parts, and Verkitschen, to sell something different that what has been announced. At the same time, then, the term refers to something related with the non-authentic reproduction of something that already existed, and suggest that its main object of said action is to satisfy a need that has something to do with taste, with expectations of cultural consumption.

The moment is determinant. The start-up of the second half of the nineteenth century is that in which bourgeoisie and small bourgeoisie are definitely established as the main components of an evolved European society, or rather the German, French and English society. Said social groups do not present specific cultural forms that identify them, as what happens in one hand to aristocracy and to the other hand to the lower classes, still anchored to popular culture, limited but defined. The bourgeoisie aspires instead, by the attraction that naturally pose the more mature lifestyles to those inferior, to be precipitants of the aristocratic culture of the high classes: such involvement is rather seen as an essential element in the climbing up to an eminent and acknowledged social role, to distinctive traits of a long cherished exclusivity."

Gualdoni, Flaminio (2008) Kitsch. Milano: Skira. p 7


Friday, 30 November 2012

Eiffel Kitsch

It has every characteristic Abraham Moles identifies in kitsch, which makes this piece an object worthy of Gilo Dorfles' catalogue: the Eiffel lamp tower.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Kitsch football

"The Centre Pompidou art gallery in Paris unveiled a 16-foot bronze statue that depicts the national sporting hero ramming his head into the chest of Italy’s Marco Materazzi, capuring an infamous moment in sports history.

Artist Adel Abdessemed created the statue based on the 2006 World Cup soccer final when Zidane lost his cool and lashed out at Materazzi."

Read full article.

More: Zidane statue causes controversy

Monday, 22 October 2012

Oggi il Kitsch (G. Dorfles)

Exposition at the Triennale di Milano, 2012.

Full article

A cura di Gillo Dorfles Con Aldo Colonetti, Franco Origoni, Luigi Sansone e Anna Steiner 

La Triennale di Milano presenta la mostra Gillo Dorfles. Kitsch - oggi il kitsch curata da Gillo Dorfles, insieme con Aldo Colonetti, Franco Origoni, Luigi Sansone e Anna Steiner. 

 Nel 1968 esce “Il Kitsch. Antologia del cattivo gusto” edito da Mazzotta, una serie di approfondimenti teorici che hanno aiutato a descrivere il concetto di kitsch in tutte le sue articolazioni; concetto che Dorfles per primo ha contribuito in modo decisivo a definire, a livello internazionale. 

Il testo di Dorfles è una vera pietra miliare per la comprensione e l’evoluzione del “cattivo gusto” dell’arte moderna; afferma che alcuni capolavori della storia dell’arte come il Mosé di Michelangelo, la Gioconda di Leonardo sono “divenuti emblemi kitsch perché ormai riprodotti trivialmente e conosciuti, non per i loro autentici valori ma per il surrogato sentimentale o tecnico dei loro valori”. 

“L’industrializzazione culturale, afferma Dorfles, estesa al mondo delle immagini artistiche ha condotto con sé un’esasperazione delle tradizionali distinzioni tra i diversi strati socio-culturali. La cultura di massa è venuta ad acquistare dei caratteri assai diversi (almeno apparentemente) dalla cultura d’élite, e ha reso assai più ubiquitario e trionfante il kitsch dell’arte stessa.”

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Long live kitsh!

Some kitsch touristic destinations all around the world.

See full article at El País.

Bar Tiki Ti, Los Ángeles (California)

Parque de las Grutas, Druskininkai, Lituania

Rocky Balboa, Žitište, Serbia

Parque de Grottenbahn (Austria)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Nautilus House (Javier Senosiain)

Read article.

"Looking at some designer’s creations one can be astonished by the power and the creativity of the human mind. This can be said about the Nautilus house located near Mexico City. It is a unique shell shaped house designed by Mexican architect Javier Senosiain. The house design is very innovative, unusual and audacious. Javier Senosiain decided to bring the life aquatic into architecture. This house turns the form of the Nautilus shell and is wonderful to look at and to be in. The interesting feature of this huge shell is a striking entry cut into a wall of colorful stained glass. Inside it casts multi-colored spots of light onto walls. But it’s not the only surprise you will find."

Friday, 5 October 2012

Kitsch and Its Object (T. Kulka) II

Part I
"Before turning to the question of how to paint - that is - to the question of the stylistic properties of kitsch, let us consider what further specifications should guide the choice of the subject matter, and what type of emotional response the painter should aim to elicit. Let us take, for example, the theme of the crying child that figures so prominently in kitsch depictions. Our painter should be advised to choose a nice and cute little child rather than a wicked ugly-looking one. The cry shouldn't be irritating or hysterical, but rather a sob of the soft and quiet variety; the child should elicit a sympathetic response. The painter should avoid all unpleasant or disturbing features of reality, leaving us only with those we can easily cope with and identify with. Kitsch comes to support our basic sentiment and beliefs, not to disturb or question them. It works best when our attitude toward its object is patronizing. Puppies work better than dogs, kittens better than cats. The success of kitsch also depends on the universality of the emotions in elicits. Typical consumers of kitsch are pleased not only because they respond spontaneously, but also because they know they are responding the right kind of way. They know they are moved in the same way as everybody else. This psychological aspect of kitsch was also stressed by Milan Kundera: "Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch" (Unbearable Lightness 251). The aim of kitsch is not to create new needs or expectations, but to satisfy existing ones. Kitsch thus does not work on individual idiosyncrasies. It breeds on universal images, the emotional charge of which appeals to everyone. Since the purpose of kitsch is to please the greatest possible number of people, it always plays on the most common denominators.

The examples of kitsch themes mentioned above belong to what one may call universal kitsch. They play on basic human impulses irrespective of religious beliefs, political convictions, race, or nationality. They exploit universal subjects such as birth, family, love, nostalgia, and so forth, which could, perhaps, be further analysed in terms of Jungian archetypes. However, alongside universal kitsch we also find more specific types of religious, political, national, and local kitsch. "Kitsch has its source in categorical agreement with being," says Kundera. "But what is the basis of being? God? Mankind? Struggle? Love? Man? Woman? ... Since opinions vary, there are various kitsches: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Communist, Fascist, democratic, feminist, European, American, national, international" (Unbearable Lightness, 256-57).

We may  thus distinguish between different types of kitsch of varying degrees of universality. Christian kitsch - exemplified by plastic Jesus babies, pictures of the Virgin Mary or scenes of the Crucifixion - combines the universal elements of kitsch with symbolism relating to the articles of Christian faith. Communist kitsch - depicting smiling workers in factories, young couples on tractors cultivating a collective farm or building a hydroelectric power station - played on the mythical valued of the joy of work and the enthusiasm for building a classless society. Capitalist kitsch, exemplified by advertising, on the other hand, uses class distinctions and status symbols to create artificial needs and illusions to foster the ideology of the consumer society. There can also be even more specific national kitsch that exploits the sentiments associated with national symbols and leaders: Mao Tse-tung leading the Great March, Lenin speaking to the workers, or good-hearted Hitler holding a child in his arms. The subject matter of kitsch may vary considerably in accordance with beliefs and traditions. What remains constant is that the consumer of kitsch is never emotionally indifferent to what the picture represents. [...]

Kitsch depicts objects or themes that are highly charged with stock emotions."

Kulka, Thomas (2002 [1996]) Kitsch and Art. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press. pp 25-27.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Kitsch and Its Object (T. Kulka) I

"Let us begin by imagining the following situation: Our friend, a competent artist, needs, for some reason, to produce a commercially successful work of kitsch. However, he had no idea what kitsch actually is, and is requesting our advise. What kind of advise could we offer him for creating convincing kitsch? What kind of instructions could we devise, which, if properly executed, would produce a successful kitsch painting?

As we can distinguish between the subject matter of a painting and the manner of its rendering, we can accordingly distinguish between the instructions pertaining to the question of what to paint and those pertaining to the question of how to paint it. In other words, let us consider what sort of objects would be most suitable as subject matter of kitsch, and what kind of rendering would be best suited for this task.

Since figurative and nonfigurative painting are equally legitimate today, the first question is whether our painter should go for a figurative picture or for an abstract one. The answer is clear. It would be evidently more difficult to produce a commercially successful abstract kitsch picture than a figurative one. We seldom call an abstract work kitsch, even if we think is bad.

The next question is whether all objects or themes are equally suitable as the subject matter of kitsch. Clearly, some are more suitable than others. Fluffy little kittens or children in tears would surely do better than an ordinary chair or a washing machine. Let us list some more examples of typical subjects exploited by kitsch. Among the themes that figure most prominently in kitsch pictures are puppies and kittens of various sorts, children in tears, mothers with babies, long-legged women with sensuous lips and alluring eyes, beaches with palms and colourful sunsets, pastoral Swiss villages framed in mountain panorama, pasturing deer in a forest clearing, couples embracing against the full moon, wild horses galloping along the waves of a stormy sea, cheerful beggars, sad clowns, sad faithful old dogs gazing toward infinity... the reader could easily extend the list.

What do these themes have in common? The answer is: they are all highly emotionally charged. They are charged with stock emotions that spontaneously trigger an unreflective emotional response.The subject matter typically depicted by kitsch is generally considered to be beautiful (horses, long-legged women), pretty (sunsets, flowers, Swiss villages), cute (puppies, kittens), and/or highly emotionally charged (mothers with babies, children in tears). This emotional charge does not just typically concur with kitsch; it is a sine qua non. Consider ordinary objects of everyday life that are devoid of any emotional charge: an ordinary chair, or a washing machine. It would, of course, be easy enough to paint bad pictures of chairs or washing machines. However, no matter how hard our painter tried, his efforts would not be rewarded by clear-cut examples of kitsch. Take, on the other hand, an object that is generally considered cute and elicits a ready emotional response: a fluffy little kitten, for example. Not only would it be quite easy to produce such a kitten-depicting work of kitsch, it would actually take some ingenuity to steer clear of it. This dependence on the emotional charge of its subject matter may also explain the difficulty of producing a nonfigurative work of kitsch. Our first advise to our painter should thus be: Choose a subject matter with a clear emotional charge that triggers a ready emotional response."

Kulka, Thomas (2002 [1996]) Kitsch and Art. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press. pp 25-26.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Architects are the last people that should shape our cities (J. Meades)

Originally published in The Guardian, September 18th, 2012.
Full article by Jonathan Meades

"Architecture, the most public of endeavours, is practised by people who inhabit a smugly hermetic milieu which is cultish. If this sounds far-fetched just consider the way initiates of this cult describe outsiders as the lay public, lay writers and so on: it's the language of the priesthood. And like all cults its primary interest is its own interests, that is to say its survival, and the triumph of its values – which means building. Architects, architectural critics, architectural theorists, the architectural press (which is little more than a deferential PR machine) – the entire quasi-cult is cosily conjoined by mutual dependence and by an ingrown, verruca-like jargon which derives from the more dubious end of American academe.

[...] Architecture talks about architecture as though it is disconnected from all other endeavours, an autonomous discipline which is an end in itself. Now, it would be acceptable to discuss opera or sawmill technology or athletics or the refinement of lard in such a way. They can be justifiably isolated, for they don't impinge on anyone outside, say, the lard community – the notoriously factional lard community. To isolate architecture is blindness, and an abjuration of responsibility.

If we want to understand the physical environment we should not ask architects about it. After all, if we want to understand charcuterie we don't seek the opinion of pigs. Architects make the error of confusing a physical environment with what they impose on it. Wrong. What is going on around us is the product of innumerable forces. Accidents – some happy, some not – clashes of scale and material, municipal idiocies and corporate boasts – these are some of the more salient determinants of our urban and suburban and extra-urban environments. Buildings are, of course, the major component of these environments. Some of those buildings will be the work of architects. But with the exception of those places where they have been granted the licence to do what they yearn to do – to start from zero – architects have less influence than they believe.

[...] It doesn't matter what idiom is essayed, it is the business of attempting to create places that defeats architects. Architects cannot devise analogues for what has developed over centuries, for generation upon generation of amendments. They cannot understand the appeal of untidiness and randomness, and even if they could they wouldn't know how to replicate it.

New buildings are simple: imagination and engineering. New places are not. It seems impossible to achieve by artifice the parts with no name, the pavement's warts and the avenue's lesions, the physical consequences of changed uses, the waste ground, the apparently purposeless plots.
It shouldn't be impossible. One cause of this failure is architects' lack of empathy, their failure to cast themselves as non-architects: architect Yona Friedman long ago observed that architecture entirely forgets those who use its products. Another cause of failure is their bent towards aesthetic totalitarianism – a trait Nikolaus Pevsner approved of, incidentally. There was no work he admired more than St Catherine's College, Oxford: a perfect piece of architecture. And it is indeed impressive in an understated way. But it is equally an example of nothing less than micro-level totalitarianism. Arne Jacobson designed not only the building, but every piece of furniture and every item of cutlery.

At macro-level, a so-called master planner will attend to the details of streets, avenues, drop-in centres, houses, offices, bridges. The master planner is almost certainly an architect, even though planning and architecture are contrasting disciplines. There are countless differences between a suburb and, say, a shopping mall in that suburb. We are all familiar with the hubristic pomp that often results when actors direct themselves. Appointing architects to conceive places is like appointing foxes to advise on chicken security.

The human ideal is to revel in urbanistic richness, in layers of imperfection. [...] The overlooked can only survive so long as authority is lax. When authority goes looking for the overlooked, the game is up – as it is today in the Lea Valley in east London. The entirely despicable, entirely pointless 2012 Olympics – a festival of energy-squandering architectural bling worthy of a vain, third-world dictatorship, a payday for the construction industry – occupies a site far more valuable as it was. It was probably the most extensive terrain vague of any European capital city. The English word "wasteland" is pejorative, lazy and more or less states that the place has no merit – so why not cover it in expressions of vanity?

[...]What an architect sees, blindly and banally, is not richness and severality. But, rather, something that is crudely classified as a brownfield site, that is tantamount to being classified as having no intrinsic worth. It is a non-place where derivative architecture can gloriously propagate itself with impunity. A brownfield site is a job opportunity, a place where the world can be physically improved. The architectural urge doesn't acknowledge the fact that it'll all turn to dust."

Monday, 20 August 2012

Shark Girl Riding a Pig

Shark Girl Riding a Pic, Casey Riordan Millard

"Casey Riordan Millard graduated with a BFA from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio in 1994. She has exhibited her large-scale installations, ceramic works, paintings and drawings in galleries throughout the United States including the Fuller Craft Museum, Brocton, Massachusetts, Cincinnati Art Museum, John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts, Sheboygan, Wisconsin and Packer-Schopf Gallery, Chicago, Illinois. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum and has been featured in the publications Hi-Fructose Magazine, New American Paintings, Lark Studio Series Ceramic Sculptures, and Lark’s 500 Ceramic Sculptures. In 2009 she received an Efroymson Contemporary Art Fellowship and in 2011 was a finalist in the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Fourth Floor competition. Her work will be featured in October of 2012 at the UnMuseum in Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center. Currently, she lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio."

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Palacio Dorado Hotel (O. Chuquiruna)

Octavio Chuquiruna, Peruvian builder (not a professional architect). A recent work northern Lima.

"I've always liked detail." he says, "to do a good façade, to make suggestions to the owner. Sometimes, because of economic reasons, the owner would say to me, 'no, do it just simple,' but I would say to him, 'What if we put just a little shape here?'. The owner, happily, would say to me, 'let's do it,' and he would be very pleased."

El Palacio Dorado. Av. Puente Piedra Sur, 1308.

Chuquiruna, O. (2002) "Diseñando la ciudad". In: Coloquio Lo cholo en el Perú. Migraciones y Mixtura. Lima: Biblioteca Nacional. p 166.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Mockitecture: Honestly, Why? Are you Serious?
The authors of this post have a blog called Mochitecture, which, as far as I understand it, is another way to refer to kitsch architecture. They talk about it, present examples of it and, ultimately, try to identify some sort of "mockitectural theoros".

Here, a little example of the goals they've identify on mockitecture, which I think are a lot like those of kitsch architecture.

"Goals of mockitecure...
- attempts to continue tradition of california crazy and architectural folly as well as post modernism while incorporating technology and traditional architectural theory and ethics
- critiques the ambiguity and pompous gestures of contemporary architecture
- underscores a lighter side of architecture, both tectonically and critically
- make light of the vocabulary used in architectural discourse
- theorizes a new attitude about playfulness and architecture
- makes light through critique of bad architectural solutions and ideas"

Full article here: Mockitecture: Honestly, Why? Are you Serious?

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Metropolis and Mental Life (G. Simmel)

"The deepest problems of modern life flow from the attempt of the individual to maintain the independence and individuality of his existence against the sovereign powers of society, against the weight of the historical heritage and the external culture and technique of life. This antagonism represents the most modern form of the conflict which primitive man must carry on with nature for his own bodily existence. The eighteenth century may have called for liberation from all the ties which grew up historically in politics, in religion, in morality and in economics in order to permit the original natural virtue of man, which is equal in everyone, to develop without inhibition; the nineteenth century may have sought to promote, in addition to man’s freedom, his individuality (which is connected with the division of labour) and his achievements which make him unique and indispensable but which at the same time make him so much the more dependent on the complementary activity of others; Nietzsche may have seen the relentless struggle of the individual as the prerequisite for his full development, while socialism found the same thing in the suppression of all competition—but in each of these the same fundamental motive was at work, namely the resistance of the individual to being levelled, swallowed up in the social-technological mechanism. When one inquires about the products of the specifically modern aspects of contemporary life with reference to their inner meaning—when, so to speak, one examines the body of culture with reference to the soul, as I am to do concerning the metropolis today—the answer will require the investigation of the relationship which such a social structure promotes between the individual aspects of life and those which transcend the existence of single individuals. It will require the investigation of the adaptations made by the personality in its adjustment to the forces that lie outside of it.

The psychological foundation, upon which the metropolitan individuality is erected, is the intensification of emotional life due to the swift and continuous shift of external and internal stimuli. Man is a creature whose existence is dependent on differences, i.e. his mind is stimulated by the difference between present impressions and those which have preceded. Lasting impressions, the slightness in their differences, the habituated regularity of their course and contrasts between them, consume, so to speak, less mental energy than the rapid telescoping of changing images, pronounced differences within what is grasped at a single glance, and the unexpectedness of violent stimuli. To the extent that the metropolis creates these psychological conditions—with every crossing of the street, with the tempo and multiplicity of economic, occupational and social life—it creates in the sensory foundations of mental life, and in the degree of awareness necessitated by our organization as creatures dependent on differences, a deep contrast with the slower, more habitual, more smoothly flowing rhythm of the sensory-mental phase of small town and rural existence. Thereby the essentially intellectualistic character of the mental life of the metropolis becomes intelligible as over against that of the small town which rests more on feelings and emotional relationships. These latter are rooted in the unconscious levels of the mind and develop most readily in the steady equilibrium of unbroken customs. The locus of reason, on the other hand, is in the lucid, conscious upper strata of the mind and it is the most adaptable of our inner forces. In order to adjust itself to the shifts and contradictions in events, it does not require the disturbances and inner upheavals which are the only means whereby more conservative personalities are able to adapt themselves to the same rhythm of events. Thus the metropolitan type— which naturally takes on a thousand individual modifications—creates a protective organ for itself against the profound disruption with which the fluctuations and discontinuities of the external milieu threaten it. Instead of reacting emotionally, the metropolitan type reacts primarily in a rational manner, thus creating a mental predominance through the intensification of consciousness, which in turn is caused by it. Thus the reaction of the metropolitan person to those events is moved to a sphere of mental activity which is least sensitive and which is furthest removed from the depths of the personality."

Simmel, G. (1903) The Metropolis and Mental Life. En: Leach, Neil (ed.) (1997) Rethinking Architecture. London: Routledge. p 68.

New York City 1903 (

Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Set of Building Blots (C. F. Brown) II

"All within a few miles of downtown Manhattan and all within a few blocks of one another, these houses illustrate some home buyers' low sales resistance to anything that looks "elegant," "exotic," or "extraordinary." Here, you can learn how to play mix-and-match Domestic Architectural Kitsch.

 Take one basic shingled box, add plywood arches, one stuccoed brick buttress, a paneled plastic garage door, and call it Spanish.

Take the same basic box, apply a stucco crenelated façade, rustic permastone base, two paneled plastic front doors, and you get a duplex Norman keep.

Enlarge the box, add Cape Codcottage weathered shingles, a formal Federal broken pediment above the entrance, a few spindly columns, and you achieve Early American.

Borrow the bay window from the first house, the garrison front from the "Spanish" or "Norman" house, pillars from the "Early American" house, and the all-purpose Olde Time diamond window panes, add a Venetian porch lantern, and voilà: All-American International Kitsch."

Brown, Curtis F. (1975) Star-Spangled Kitsch. New York: Universe Books. pp 87-88.

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Set of Building Blots (C. F. Brown) I

"A traveller in Kitshland will observe that the territory is not neatly circumscribed. Shifting perspectives can alter the boundaries. Nowhere is this clearer than in the region of architecture, where, depending on the point of view, one man's castle can be taken for another man's kitsch.

[...] Architectural kitsch often has the desperate air of someone who, eager to create a striking impression, both speaks and dresses too loudly. 'Look at my fantastic clothes, my fabulous hair style, and my out-of-this-world jewellery. Aren't you staggered at the thought of what it all must have cost?'"

Brown, Curtis F. (1975) Star-Spangled Kitsch. New York: Universe Books. pp 87-88. 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Heavenly calling

"The recently restored St. Jan's Cathedral in the Dutch city of 's-Hertogenbosch (hortened to 'Den Bos'), boasts an unusual statue. Sculptor Ton Mooy spent 14 years carving some 40 new statues for the cathedral's exterior. While most of them are the standard fare adorning age-old churches, Mooy couldn't resist adding a modern version: an angel with a mobile phone. "The church leaders took some convincing, but in the end, they went for it." he says. A small replica of the statue can be purchased via"

Holland Herald, Vol 47, Nº 07, July 2012.
Media Partners Group. Amstelveen.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Moving through the bazaar (T. Edensor)

"Bazaars constitute an unenclosed realm which provides a meeting point for a variety of people and multiple activities, including forms of  'recreations, social interaction, transport and economic activity' (King, 1976: 56). Not dominated by one economic activity, bazaars mix together small businesses, shops, street vendors, public and private institutions and domestic housing. Hotels co-exist alongside work places, schools, eating places, transport temini, bathing points, political headquarters, offices, administrative centres, places of worship and temporary and permanent dwellings. This multi-functional structure provides a mixture of overlapping spaces that seem to merge Western dichotomous notions of public and private, work and leisure, and holy and profane. And the bazaar contains a host of micro-spaces: corners and niches, awnings and offshoots, providing a labyrinthine structure with numerous openings and passages which enables a flow of different bodies and vehicles with criss-cross the street in multi-directional patterns, veering into courtyards, alleys and cul-de-sacs.

Bazaars are 'centres of social life, of communication, of political and judicial activity, of cultural and religious events and places for the exchange of news, information and gossip' (Buie, 1996: 277). Everyday social activities such as loitering, sitting and observing, and meeting friends, are organized around particular micro-spaces such as transport termini and tea stalls. The street is often a site for domestic activities such as collecting water, washing clothes, cooking and child-minding. For some, streets may serve as a temporary home, necessitating the carrying out of bodily maintenance such as washing. Such temporary sites and activities challenge notions of ownership, and the distinction between private and public (Chandhoke, 1993).

[...] Heterogeneous spaces such as bazaars are typically subject to contingent and local forms of planning and regulation, and surveillance is rather low-level. Rather than security guards and video surveillance, local power-holders exercise policies of exclusion and control. Forms of restriction over movement do apply. There may be gendered conventions about who should pass through particular public spaces, and other local struggles over space, shaped around class, ethnic and religious conflicts, may persist. Yet such restrictions are often foiled by intrusions that challenge the spatial ordering of the city. For instance, the 'unintended city' of the 'shanty town' insistently projects into and subverts planned urban spaces.

[...] Whilst formal traffic rules exist, vehicles pay little heed to them as they jostle for position, creating a competitive and rather chaotic race for road space. Itinerant beggars and workers are rarely advised to 'move on', and while the animals that share the streets may be subject to cruelty, there are few systematic attempts to control their movements or numbers. Aesthetically, the maintenance of a cultivated appearance through control or theming is rarely imposed; an unplanned bricolage of structures is infested with ad hoc signs, contingent and personalized embellishments, and unkempt surfaces and facades.

The pedestrians who move through this protean space are denied the option of seeking refuge in an aloof disposition and are often thwarted in their desire for rapid progress. For it is often difficult for them to move in a straight line. Instead they must weave a path by negotiating obstacles, and remain alert to hazardous traffic and animals [...]. The abundant simultaneous cross-cutting journeys mean that pedestrians must take count of others who will cross their path at a variety of speeds. In addition, the miscellaneous collections of vehicles and other diverse forms of transport, all moving at different speeds as they manoeuvre for space, provides an ever-changing dance of traffic which echoes the stop-start choreographies of pedestrians. Walking cannot be a seamless, uninterrupted journey but is rather a sequence of interruptions and encounters that disrupt smooth passage.

This disrupted progress is not only produced through the exigencies of avoiding collisions, but also by the distractions and diversions offered by heterogeneous activities and sights. There is an ever-shifting series of juxtapositions and assemblages of diverse static and moving elements which can provide surprising and unique scenes. Such haphazard features and events dis-order the gaze as the eye continuously shifts, alighting on changing episodes to the left and right, far ahead and close at hand. Moreover, the pleasurable jostling in the crows engenders a haptic geography wherein there is continuous touching of others and weaving between and amongst bodies. The different textures brushed against and underfoot render the body aware of diverse tactile sensations. These impacts on the haptic system of the body produce distinct forms of feeling and experience (see Lyon and Barbalet, 1994). Additionally, the 'smellscapes' and 'soundscapes' of the bazaar are rich and varied. The jumbled mix of pungent aromas (sweet, sour, acrid and savoury) produces intense 'olfactory geographies', and the combination of noises generated by numerous human activities, animals, forms of transport and performed and recorded music, produces a changing symphony of diverse pitches, volumes and tones.

It seems as if the sensual and social body moving through the bazaar is continually imposed upon and challenged by diverse activities, sensations and sights which render a state at variance to a restrained and aloof distraction. Rather than being a distanced spectator of manufactured spectacle, the pedestrian is part of a heterotopic diversity where the senses are excited by a more variegated set of stimuli."

Edensor, Tim (2000) "Moving through the city". En: Bell, David; Haddour, Azzedine (eds.) City Visions. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.


Buie, S. (1996) Market as mandala: the erotic space of commerce. Organisation, 3, 225-32.
Chandhoke, N. (1993) On the social organisations of urban space - subversions and appropriations. Social Scientist, 21, 63-73.
King, A. (1976) Colonial Urban Development: Culture, Social Power and Environment, Routledge, London.
Lyon M. and Barbalet, J. (1994) Society's body: emotion and the 'somatisation' of social theory. In Csordas, T. (ed.) Embodiment and Experience, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Kitsch As Only Kitsch Can (C. F. Brown)

"After All, If Kitsch Isn't a Pleasure, Why Bother?

Bonjour, pardner, and a real warm wlcome to a wunnerful world of charm and elegance, heart-warming adorableness, and delightfully perverse American ingenuity.

Like it or not, kitsch is the daily, everywhere art of our time, and because we are surrounded by it - in stores and shoppes, in mail-order catalogs, in public events and popular entertainment - we accept it, decry it, or try, probably futilely, to ignore it. If you're a snob, kitsch is the stuff the neighbors collect, not the lovely things that add to the joy and richness of living in your gracious home.

First, a ground rule before we begin our Gradus ad Parnassum to the dizzying heights of kitsch at its most flamboyant, most outrageous, and - Heaven help us all - its most lovable. Don't think of kitsch as either "good" art or "bad" art. Most of it hasn't the least idea of being the first, so why should it be labeled, by default, the other? Certainly, kitsch has its grandiose pretensions, its pomposities, its megalomania, even; but its aspirations are not toward what the collective opinion of critics calls Art. Kitsch objects are not more the "opposite" of art than kitsch social phenomena are the counterpart of "nice" norms of behavior or "acceptable" attitudes. Instead, kitsch fills another kind of bill: it feeds the mass appetite for the slick, the sentimental, the sensational, and the supercolossal.

Kitsch need not mean the fall of Western civilization through cultural selft-abasement. Like Archbald MacLeish's rationale for a poem, kitsch doesn't mean, only is.

Let's begin our Stairway to Paradise with a simple example, a sweat shirt emblazoned with a printed likeness of Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Few people are likely to mistake that combination of art and apparel for Art. The buyer is perfectly aware that the decorated shirt is not unique, but a widely available commodity. However, even a sweat shirt, if it bears a picture of a Timeless Masterpiece, not a campy or trendy one of Bugs Bunny or Mick Jagger, can transcend the utilitarian and spell Class.

That is what much of kitsch art generally is, a mass-produced item that its purchaser believes endows him with an air of richness, elegance or sophistication. (The American art critic Meyer Schapiro wryly defines kitsch as "chic spelled backwards")."

Brown, Curtis F. (1975) Star-Spangled Kitsch. New York: Universe Books. p 9.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Open Source Architecture, The Power of Collaboration

Worldchanging: Bright Green: Open Source Architecture, The Power of Collaboration

"By the middle of the century, one in three people on the planet will be living in inadequate, often illegal housing," says Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity. "I mean, think about that! The formal architectural profession does not have anything like the capacity to meet people's needs on that scale. Worse, many of the people working in this space are unaware of each other's work. There's a vast replication of effort, not only the same successes, but the same failures. We need millions of solutions, and we need to share them all across the world."

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Shadow Cities and the Urbanization of the World

Rio (
Worldchanging: Bright Green: Shadow Cities and the Urbanization of the World

An article by Jamais Cascio at Worldchanging

"Some numbers: today, there are approximately one billion squatters -- about 1 in 6 people on the planet; by 2030, it's estimated there will be two billion squatters, or about 1 in 4; by 2050, there could be three billion squatters, or 1 in 3. Some 200,000 people move from rural communities to urban communities every day, globally. That's around 70 million per year, or 130 every minute. Inevitably, the cities of the future will be built by squatters."

Thursday, 17 May 2012

What is Kitsch? (T. Kulka)

Romanticism is outmoded, symbolism disused, surrealism has always appealed to a small elite but kitsch is everywhere. Even more pervasive and indestructible now that it is fused to a civilization based on excess consumption.   - Jacques Sternberg
"One of the questions often raised in connection with kitsch is whether it is a distinctly modern phenomena, or whether it has accompanied art throughout its history. Is kitsch historically dated, having made its appearance some hundred and fifty years ago, or is it as old as art itself?
Most of the authors who have dealt with this issue believe that kitsch is indeed a relatively recent arrival in Western culture. Although the reasons they cite in support if this claim vary, two distinct lines of argument can be discerned. The authors who focus on the sociological and sociocultural aspects of the phenomenon emphasize that the proper conditions for both the consumption and the production of kitsch did not exist prior to the modern era (Greenberg, Morreall & Loy, Calinescu). They invoke factors like the emergence of the middle class, urbanization and the influx of peasant populations to the towns, the decline of aristocracy, the disintegration of folk art and folk culture, increased literacy among the ploretariat, more time for leisure, mass production, and technological progress, as preconditions for kitsch. Thus, for example, Clement Greenberg, who sees the emergence of kitsch as more or les simultaneous with that of modernism, claims that "[k]itsch is a product of the industrial revolution" (Art and Culture 9).

Authors who are more concerned with its art-historical, stylistic, and aesthetic aspects consider kitsch to be an offspring of the Romantic movement (Dorfles, Broch). Hermann Broch, for example, maintains that "every form of kitsch... owes its existence to the specific structure of the Romanticism." He claims that Romanticism, "without being kitsch itself, is the mother of kitsch and that there are moments when the child becomes so like its mother that one cannot differentiate between them".

The two perspectives support each other, since they claim roughly the same starting point for the appearance of kitsch. This stance seems to be further strengthened by the fact that the term kitsch has nowhere been recorded before the second half of the nineteenth century.

Yet there are dissenters. Arthur Koestler, for example, maintains that when Petronius in his Supper of Trimalchio describes the bad taste of the newly established class of the merchants, he is clearly referring to kitsch. A similar claim is made by Susan Sontag about Cervantes, who makes fun of seventeenth-century chivalric romances. Others maintain that the small Hellenistic painted statues that were produced in large quantities mainly for export, as well as many of the objects in Pompeii, can be seen as examples of kitsch from the distant past.

[...] Kitsch as we know it cannot be divorce from the socio-economic conditions described by those who see this phenomenon as a product of industrial revolution. It also seems true that of all artistic movements it is the Romantic movement that created the most fertile grounds for kitsch. One can hardly deny that Romanticism, with its emphasis on dramatic effects, pathos, and overall sentimentality, displays intrinsic affinities with kitsch. It seems also plausible to claim that since the term kitsch is relatively new, there was probably no acute need for its use in early times. Yet, the denial of the existence of kitsch prior to the nineteenth century seems too strong."

Kulka, Thomas (2002 [1996]) Kitsch and Art. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Plastic Flowers Are Almost All Right (A. L. Huxtable) III

Part II
From Learning from Las

"They [the Venturis] have a gift for that kind of outrage. Not content to score the "personalized essay in civic monumentality," they add the ultimate insult, "It's a bore." With more-than-candour, they point out that the renunciation of decoration has led the modern architect to so manipulate his "structural" forms that the entire building becomes a decoration. Then, with less-than-innocence, they draw an analogy between the building as decoration and symbol and the building in the shape of a duck or the highway. Furious, architects reply that the Parthenon is a duck, too.

The Venturis design "ducks" and "decorated sheds". To them, Main Street "is almost all right." So is history, and it is not surprising that mannerism suits them best. They accord the dumb and ordinary, the full seventeenth.century treatment. Piling paradox on paradox, they combine the obvious and the arcane. You can peel off the layers of meaning. Call it pop mannerism.

Guild House, a perfectly dumb and ordinary, and incidentally, very satisfactory, apartment house for the elderly in Philadelphia, is a mannerist exercises that uses blatant façadism and a perverse assortment of details that sets other architects' teeth on edge. Like all Venturi and Rauch buildings, it is intensely personal, idiosyncratic, and arbitrary, done in an intelligent but totally unsettling way. It is meant to make the educated viewer look twice, to see why the ordinary is extraordinary. Because never doubt it for a moment, the Venturis are determined to make it so.

The results are undeniably extraordinary, and many qualified judges think they are perfectly awful. I have a kind of love-hate relationship with Venturi designs, more for their ideological input, their profound comments on our culture, their intense and often angry wit, their consummate one-upmanship, than for their architectural quality. Yes, I am avoiding the issue of quality.

I suspect that the conscious application of theory always produces noble experiments and abysmal failures. If theory is valid, it usually leads to something else. The ultimate irony is that the cost of building today is making the dumb and ordinary inevitable. The prophecy is self-fulfilling. But this work is eye-opening and catalytic, and if response is complex and contradictory, so are the Venturis, and life and art.

New York Times, October 10, 1971."

Huxtable, Ada Louise (1971) "Plastic Flowers Are Almost All Right". En: Huxtable, Ada Louise (2008) On Architecture. Collected Reflections on a Century of Change. New York: Walker & Company.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Plastic Flowers Are Almost All Right (A. L. Huxtable) II

"Now that the "environment" has been rediscovered, it seems that the architect has never been there. Its mixed bag is not his bag at all. And because its mix is exactly what society is made of, the architect is looking more and more like a mastodon than a saviour.

Which brings us back to the Venturis. The Venturis tell us that "the world can't wait for the architect to build his utopia, and the architect's concern ought not to be with what it ought to be but with what it is - and with how to help improve it now. This is a humbler role for architects than the modern movement has wanted to accept."

To play this role, the Venturis suggest that the architect meet the environment on its own terms, because it is there. And because it is there we might study it, including the despised highway strip and the subdivision, to see what works and why. Their two eyebrow-raising studies in this vein, done as studios exercises with Yale architecture students, are called "Learning from Las Vegas" and "Learning from Levittown."

I will co clearly on the record by saying that I think these studies are brilliant. There are the inevitable blind spots of the totally committed; the fast buck has shaped the scene as much as real need. The big sign often means the big deal. There are false values behind the false fronts. But complexity and paradox are the stuff of which the Venturis are made.
Their insight and analysis, reasoned back through the history of style and symbolism and forward to the recognition of a new kind of building that responds directly to speed, mobility, the superhighway, and changing lifestyles, is the kind of art history and theory that is rarely produced. The rapid evolution of modern architecture from Le Corbusier to Brazil to Miami to the roadside motel in a brief forty-year span, with all of the behavioural aesthetics involved, is something neither architect nor historian has deigned to notice. All that has been offered by either are diatribes against the end product.

The Venturis see much of pop art in this pop scene, and they admire both. This admiration extends to the full range of expediency and mediocrity with which America has housed and serviced itself while the architect looked the other way or for "enlightened" clients. The Venturis vie with each other in the acceptance of the commonplace. And because these are cheap and practical answers, they suggest we use them.

They use them. But with such and educated filtering to suit their own subtle and ironic "pop" tastes that perversity and paradox are the name of the game. When one outraged architect called their work "dumb and ordinary," they said that in a way he had exactly gotten the point and adopted the phrase themselves."

Huxtable, Ada Louise (1971) "Plastic Flowers Are Almost All Right". En: Huxtable, Ada Louise (2008) On Architecture. Collected Reflections on a Century of Change. New York: Walker & Company.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Plastic Flowers Are Almost All Right (A. L. Huxtable) I
"I don't know if critics are allowed to be ambivalent. We're supposed to have the answers. I am about to express some personal feelings and guarded opinions about the work and theory of Venturi and Rauch that are in large part favourable, due to my conditioning as an architectural historian.

First, I really can't see the uproar the Venturis are creating. The fuss that greeted Robert Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (Museum of Modern Art and Graham Foundation, 1966), the article "Learning from las Vegas" with Denise Scott Brown, now his wife (Architectural Forum, March 1968), and is currently being repeated for the Venturi and Rauch exhibition in the Whitney Museum (through October 31) is probably due to three things.

Almost everything that the Venturis have to say is heresy, if you have been brought up as a true believer in modern architectural doctrine as formulated in the early part of this century. Everything Venturi and Rauch designs is a slap in the face of the true believers. And to use irony or wit in the pursuit of either theory or design - as a tool to shock awareness or as a comment on the cultural condition - is the unforgivable sin.

Architects will tell you this is not so - that they are just appalled by the Venturi brand of design. But then why go into such rage? There is a lot of work around that people don't like. The answer is that architects do not build the way accountants add up figures; through education and inclination they design from a set of strong philosophical and aesthetic convictions, a polemical position, that has the highest place in their scheme of essential beliefs. Attack that, and you've got a religious war.

As a historian, I don't believe in religious wars. What is despised today was enshrined yesterday or will be tomorrow. I believe not only in complexity and contradiction but also in continuity and change. I do not share a good part of the modernist dogma of the modern architects whose work I admire most, at the same time that I recognise and respect its place in the development of modern architectural history. An I think the dogma of the recent past, in the light of the problems of the present, is doing the others in.

The modern architect is a hero figure who sets his buildings in shining isolation. He sees his job as showing a benighted populace, by terribly limited example, how "rational" and "tasteful" things should be. In this antienvironmental, antihistorical stance taught by the modern movement, the architect has become the man clients often cannot get a direct answer from because he is too busy being heroic and original, or the mand contractors double their estimates for to take care of the problems of unconventional construction to serve those heroic and original designs."

Huxtable, Ada Louise (1971) "Plastic Flowers Are Almost All Right". En: Huxtable, Ada Louise (2008) On Architecture. Collected Reflections on a Century of Change. New York: Walker & Company.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Informality: Spontaneous Process in Dwelling, the Lima Case

Lecture at the College of Design, Iowa State University.
Thursday, April 12th.

"The phenomena related to the rapid growth of cities, often linked to massive internal migrations, have a profound impact on many aspects of the established structure. Urban boundaries are blurred, and infrastructure and services (e.g. transportation and housing) frequently can't keep pace with the needs of emerging areas.

Throughout the world, citizens respond by "building their own city," using whatever materials and resources might be at hand. New environments appear gradually growing from the requirements of the inhabitants. As their budgets allow, families add sections to their homes."

Monday, 19 March 2012

Kitsch (C. Dreifuss)

According to Moles, the word kitsch has German origins and appears in Munich around 1860. “Kitschen means to mess and, particularly, to make new furniture with old ones, it is a well known expression; verkitschen means cheating, selling a thing in lieu of than what had been agreed.” (Moles, 1972, pág. 10). Other definitions also mention a possible origin in the Anglo-Saxon word sketch, a simple and cheap drawing that often mimics a true picture of much greater value (Dorfles, 1969 [1968]; Crick, 1983). 

A common feature of all the possible origins of the word kitsch is the pejorative connotation of the term. The fact that the term is recent also indicates that the phenomenon itself is not very old. While fraud and imitation products probably existed throughout the history of mankind, there are certain peculiarities of kitsch phenomenon that distinguish it from a simple forgery. 

Firstly, there is its modern character: just as mass art, kitsch is possible only in an industrialized society, capable of rapidly producing replicas in a significant amount and, therefore, reducing costs production. It is no coincidence that many times kitsch is equated with the avant-garde or some of the phenomena clearly linked to modernity (Greenberg, 1965 [1939]; Calinescu, 1995). Meanwhile, the existence of kitsch implies the existence of a society willing to consume it, formed by what Broch calls Kitsch-Menschen or Kitsch-men (Broch, 1966 [1950]). There are groups aiming to be entertained, and which not necessarily have access either to the original sources of so called educated art, or - in many cases - to the training needed to like them. They will prefer the copy already processed, cheap and understandable that satisfies this need for entertainment, in a way both economically and culturally assailable. 

Abraham Moles will single out five principles that, in a unified way, but more often put together, define the characteristics of kitsch, both as an object and as an event. 

(1) The principle of inadequacy, which has to do with an existing deviation “in relation to its nominal target, deviation in relation to the function which is supposed to fulfill, in the case of a product [...] deviation in relation to realism in the case of any figurative art.” (Moles, 1972, pág. 71). Under this principle, an object is placed simultaneously right and wrong: it may be an alteration of proportions, a change in the materials used, the use of the object in a singular context, the relative independence between object and function, etc. 

(2) The accumulation, that is to say, to collect with a sort of frenzy to ever more. It has to do with the horror of the void, with giving more than one function to one object, to combine in one space objects from diverse backgrounds. 

(3) The synesthetic perception, understood as stimuli to the greatest possible number of sensory channels simultaneously. This aspect, closely related to the accumulation, has to do with promoting aesthetic experiences that fully capture the consumer's attention by the assault on his or her senses, with a certain theatricality and deployment of resources; often kitsch is based on the technology to achieve this effect in its production. 

(4) Being average; even if there is a vast quantity of resources in place, it stops midway of becoming new, opposing to avant-garde and remaining essentially an art of mass. (Moles, 1972, pág. 75). 

(5) The perceived need to generate comfort, Gemütlichkeit, through all these forms than seek to easy acceptance, and that to achieve this, cast away from his speech any form of conflict, tension or difficulty, even if it means moving away from the real world. 

Beyond these five principles, we can identify other characteristics typical of kitsch, such as the will of imitation: the essentials of a work of art or kitsch event for those who consume it is not only in its formal characteristics but and above all in that to which it is hope through the copy. That's why Calinescu (Calinescu, 1995, pág. 229) argues that kitsch can be defined as specifically aesthetic form of lying. 

This desire of imitation turns into alienation, another essential characteristic of kitsch (also related to the principle of inadequacy), which “manifests itself as a sum of global changes in attitudes.” (Moles, 1972, pág. 40) It is not that kitsch objects that require this alienation, but the mode of appropriation and use of these objects can become alienating to the user in reference to the group to which he or she belongs. 

One of the most criticized aspects of kitsch refers to a sort of shallowness in awakening emotions. The scenes presented tend to introduce simple emotions, linked to a kind of romanticism that idealizes the happy ending or, in any case, that clings to sentimentality. 

Returning to the idea of kitsch as a product of modernity and industrialization, Calinescu sees in it a triumphant demonstration of ethics and aesthetics of consumerism. At the same time, its occurrence and distribution is invariably a sign of modernity so obvious “that one could take the presence of kitsch in countries of the 'second' and 'third' world as an unmistakable sign of 'modernization'.” (Calinescu, 1995 , p. 226) Clearly this circuit of production and consumption drives away from other type of user of kitsch, who is often both manufacturer and consumer, in a way close enough to craft production, which provides an aesthetic relationship with the object produced. This consumer does not view the object, event or experience as kitsch, but often reaches the point of comparing its qualities with those of high art that has no access.


Broch, H. (1966 [1950]). Notes on the Problem of Kitsch. In G. Dorfles, Kitsch, the World of Bad Taste. New York: Bell Publishing Company.
Calinescu, M. (1995). Five Faces of Modernity. Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodern. Durham: Duke University Press.
Crick, P. (1983). Kitsch. British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 23, No. 1 , 48-52.
Dorfles, G. (1969 [1968]). Kitsch. The World of Bad Taste. New York: Bell Publishing Company.
Greenberg, C. (1965 [1939]). Avant-Garde and Kitsch. In C. Greenberg, Art and Culture. Critical Essays (pp. 3-21). Boston: Beacon Press.
Moles, A. (1972). O Kitsch. Sao Paulo: Perspectiva.

From L'estetica (del huachafo) nell'architettura contemporanea a Lima. PhD thesis at Università degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza. June 2011.
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