Wednesday, February 15, 2006

On Kitsch


Thursday, February 23, 7pm
School of Visual Arts
209 East 23rd Street
3rd-floor Ampitheater
Free and open to the public

The BFA Fine Arts and Art History Departments of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) present On Kitsch, a panel addressing the confluence of the high and the low in art today. Panelists include Brian Boucher, Melissa Brown, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Lisa Small and Amy Wilson. The event takes place Thursday, February 23, 7pm at School of Visual Arts, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City. Admission is free.

“Kitsch,” a term widely used to describe mass-produced objects of questionable taste, was once reviled by the purveyors of high culture, who saw it as the antithesis of fine art. Today, many fine artists – among them Jeff Koons, John Currin, Lisa Yuskavage, Takashi Murakami, and Liza Lou, to name a few – draw their primary inspiration from this lowbrow aesthetic. What was once the hallmark of ridiculously poor taste now accounts for some of the most provocative art of our time.

In his landmark 1939 Partisan Review essay “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” Clement Greenberg wondered how it is that a culture can produce “simultaneously two such different things as […] a painting by Braque and a Saturday Evening Post cover.” To contemporary ears, his question may sound quaint, but it remains relevant to anyone trying to understand the place that art occupies in our culture.

Given that the line between art and kitsch has now become so blurred, what is the fundamental difference between the two? And who gets to make that distinction?

Panelists include:

Brian Boucher, writer, editorial staff member of Art in America. He has also written for New York Magazine, Parachute, Flash Art and Art Review.

Melissa Brown is represented by Bellwether in NYC and recently exhibited with Kenny Schacter in London. She will be included in the upcoming “Interstate Show” at Socrates Sculpture Park and performs regularly with the group Slow Jams Band. She teaches at Lehman College.

Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt has been exhibiting his work since 1965, and was included in “The American Century: Art & Culture 1900-2000” at the Whitney Museum and “The Downtown Show” at the Grey Art Gallery. His work is in the collection of many museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts.

Lisa Small is Associate Curator at the Dahesh Museum in NYC. She is the author of Highlights from the Dahesh Museum Collection, published in 1999, and of a 16,000-word manuscript examining that museum's version of Alexandre Cabanel's Birth of Venus.

Amy Wilson is represented by Bellwether in NYC. Her work has been included in exhibitions at P.S. 1/MoMA, Wesleyan University, and The Drawing Center, and reviewed in various publications including Art in America, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. She teaches Understanding Kitsch at the School of Visual Arts.

For more information, call 212.592.2010.

School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City is an established leader and innovator in the education of artists. From its inception in 1947, the faculty has been comprised of professionals working in the arts and art-related fields. SVA provides an environment that nurtures creativity, inventiveness and experimentation, enabling students to develop a strong sense of identity and a clear direction of purpose. For more information, contact Michael Grant, Assistant Director of Communication at 212.592.2011 or


At 2:17 PM, Blogger earlyadopter said...

I'm going to be in boston when this happens. You (or someone) should audio (or video) record it. I really would like to hear it. We should Podcast it!

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Ok... how does one podcast??

Don't know 100% if it's so appropriate for the medium anyway, given that there's going to be a lot of slides. But if I go to SVA and tell them that this will be the first ever panel discussion that is podcasted, they will probably name a building after me. So, your idea intrigues me...


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