Postmodernism Becoming Kitsch Killed The Art Scene

Conventions without concepts is kitsch


What is postmodernism?

Let’s start with the art

I’ll start with the artwork first, especially rhe postmodernist art. I think the famous ones are
1) Andy Warhol
2) Barbara Kruger
3) Roy Lichenstein

However Barbara Kruger couldn’t draw and made no attempt to. She was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time, when the postmodernism art style was hip and trendy, she rode the wave of the trend before the storm died out.

What I find interesting is when people make accusations that Andy Warhol and Banksy cannot draw, when they can actually draw very well, better than most illustrators.

It’s just that the most basic, simplified and lowest common denominator artwork, is ALWAYS going to be the one that’s more famous, as it’s an empty vessel and very quick to understand and not get confused over its coded meaning, so it is VERY easy for other people to insert THEMSELVES into the artwork and imagine its them and their PAST life experiences.

It doesn’t matter how talented you are at drawing or how sophisticated your artwork is, the most basic artwork will always be the most famous, as the simplified and generic stuff is the most relatable and the most easiest for the reader to super-impose themselves into it.

Compare the Andy Warhol art that got famous

To then compare it with the art with more technical wizardry (or complexity) yet is LESS famous So yeah, Andy Warhol actually can draw. The same logic applies to Banksy. Loads of people think that Banksy can’t draw and he just uses stencils or just looks stencil-esque, when however his more complex work is less famous, as the more complex stuff is less relatable as it’s not an ambiguous empty vessel for the reader to insert themselves and their past experiences into.

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Now the obvious question is, if people have been doing minimal artwork for HUNDREDS of years, why did his artwork become famous and not anyone else’s?

We can speculate but I think its due to 2 things
1) Not being kitsch in its concept and in a way that meets the preliminary conditions and counter-social vaules needed for a subculture to be created
2) Applying the oxymoron or idiosyncratic balancing act, of being able to blend in within a sequence of the same genre to show being versatile without being a copycat, whilst also being unique enough to stand out from the crowd as refreshing without being a one trick pony

But that’s long to explain

To be specific towards the artwork, about the soup one, the lettering is hand-drawn whilst looking computerised so there’s some level of skill in that. It’s photorealistic in the not subtle but INCONSPICIOUS sense, that most people would think it was done on Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator when it’s actually hand-drawn, for something that looks seemingly so simple when JUXTAPOSED with the ironic blockish stuff of what’s around it.

About the Marilyn Monroe part, it was about getting what was supposed to be most attractive women in the world, to make her look ugly, whilst still being very true to her actual appearance at it would appear in print magazines with no exaggeration or distortion.

But more generally about what I hinted at above, it’s longer to explain.
So no, I don’t think that AI Art could portray those 2 things, said above and what I’ll explain later on.

And by inconspicuous, I mean that even if you spent TEN hours staring at it right in front of your face, you wouldn’t really notice it until someone else pointed it out to you, which is in contrast to subtle where you would notice it after enough staring or listening or enough prior questions about it for you to answer on cue.

By the way, imagine the lettering on the soup art, like something that lettering artist and secondary an illustrator, Jessica Hische would do.
The lettering Andy Warhol did with paint and NO pencil outline tracing, looks simple but is actually much harder than it looks.

Everyone copied Roy Lichenstein’s style. Also he INVENTED the halftone shading effect.

Four words: Futura Black and Supreme Fashion Feminist artist Barbrara Kruger used Futura Black in bold as she thought it was the most consumerist font.

What is kitsch?

Conventions without concepts is kitsch


When music becomes kitsch

Mia Lucci’s opinion from Kindisch Records

How do you go about assuring that the label continues to push its own boundaries?

Our releases to date come from feeling. Its not a magic formula of any sort. What comes out on Kindisch is a reflection of where my label partner Philipp and my taste is at a given point in time.

I’m no bible, but my sense is that the success of any successful label is this authentic undertone and that it’s constantly evolving. In 2016 Kindisch was about down tempo music with ambient elements and this year it will be more along the classic house sound.

One thing we are constantly looking for is music that is authentic. You can hear it when you listen to it. When a producer sends us music we can tell if the music has been forced or copied, or if it is truly their own. As artists we all struggle to find this authenticity. It’s a really difficult concept to explain. But I think most artists understand what I’m talking about.

It’s really clear if it’s music that has been created from a place of genuine authentic taste and feeling, not because they are trying to be or produce something that they’re not.

Using a blank canvas to create something unique, intricate, sophisticated but also something that moves people is truly a skill.

Source: interview with when we dip

My advice for sending demos

  1. It has to be original, obviously. No copycat songs. No amalgam songs where you’ve combined multiple songs together.
  2. You have to strike a balancing act of blending in a playlist of 10 songs of the SAME genre, with your song in the middle, while it being convincing to the listener that someone ELSE made the song. If you can blend in, then it makes you versatile and able to adapt like a chameleon but you ALSO can’t be a copycat, so it’s a bit contradictory or idiosyncratic like an oxymoron but you have to do both at the SAME time. This would show that a person is versatile and that they can adapt, instead of being a one trick pony or stuck in their ways.
  3. You have to switch up the arrangement style within the same and different genres you do, as there’s no use simply changing the sound palette to meet the definition of a different genre, if you’re keeping your arrangement style the same because otherwise it’s like a child doing painting/colour by numbers.

I think that most people who send demos to labels, especially teenagers, fail to do this. But I can’t know for sure as I don’t run a record label and I don’t see the submissions they get.

That’s my opinion anyway. I have no idea what criteria record labels use, to judge whether a musician is suitable to be signed, let alone whether their demo POTENTIALLY sounds good to the consumer in the future or not.

I send my demo to a record label when I was 16, back in 2008 and got help and quasi-signed, below the table. And it was the ONLY label I sent a demo to. I got help on the first demo pitch. Now that I think about it, I don’t think record labels care if your demo has unfinished songs and prematurely ending songs. I think most the songs on my 13 track demo (minimum 12) was grossly unfinished, 4 ended prematurely.

I like to apply Chaos Theory in a philosophical way….

  1. Increasing entropy in the universe, increases the complexity over time, even though nothing has been added or removed like The Big Bang
  2. If you change one variable gradually in a minute way, it creates a huge change in the resulting outcome, like dropping a stone in the water, 1cm to the left or moving one item in a house made of cards
  3. The more time moves forward, the harder things are to reverse. It’s not transform, it’s transmute.
  4. There are subtle things that I prefer to call inconspicuous, where even though you’re staring at it in the face, you still won’t notice it, unless someone else points it out to you.

I like things that have subtlety (like a Jason Pollock painting) and are intricate (like a stack of cards). I like things with depth.

Compilation music is why BBC 1Xtra stopped playing grime

How kitsch caused music genres to die

This reminds me of why BBC 1Xtra stopped playing grime around 2014. DJ Cameo had a show called Pirate Sessions for it.

What happened, is that all the musicians started copying each other, copying each other’s production styles and lyrical topics, being a copycat, so eventually all the music on that show started to sound cliché.

Something that was repeated again, over and over, so many times, that it’s now become boring. If ever some new musician came out who was original or refreshing, everyone would copy them.

The general public then complained to the british telecommunications regulator Ofcom, to complain about their TV License fee money being spent on a radio show that was repetitive, full of copycats and cliche.

Ofcom agreed with the hundreds of complaints given, so BBC 1Xtra scrapped the radio show. So that’s why they stopped playing grime.

Before some smart aleck responds with

That was 2014, now it’s 2022 But…but…but…they have a radio show in 2021 for grime

That only lasts 1 hour and is once a week, while other specialist shows like drum n bass and the emo genre trio (eg, post hardcore, punk, heavy metal), they get 2 hours and appear more frequently often in the week.

So there ya go!

Imagine it’s 2008 and I’m 16 and using my iPod while walking to school. The journey time takes 1 hour. Funnily enough, the bus journey ALSO takes 1 hour due to all the traffic. Strange huh? Well just imagine that I’m walking to school for 1 hour there, 1 hour back.

That’s 2 hours of the day listening to music,
24×7 = 168
Minus sleeping = 112

So out of an entire week, that’s 10 hours of me listening to music, out of 112 hours.

That’s around 150 songs for the whole week!!!

Years later, I FINALLY found out why!

When these grime musicians make songs, they’re not doing it for artistic expression, they’re doing it to be commercial to make money. But they’re not applying pop sensibilities or conventions like the Top 40 chart, so it’s not commercial in the way you’d expect,

When they make songs, they are not making them for their own album or EP but INSTEAD to appear on a compilation CD.

20 songs on a compilation CD, 1 song by each musician, 20 in total

So obviously as they want to stand out, they’ll intentionally go for the most cookie cutter, tried and tested and cliché thing.

So when I played that unknown CD I brought where 1 musician made every song, I then REALISED years later that the reason why it sounded weird and why it was passable/mediocre/boring yet not exactly bad, is because the music is NOT designed for residential listening or travelling listening but instead for a compilation CD.

Not only did it sound like they were trying to copy songs from 5 years ago but also there was something missing, about the level of creativity, something you can sense and perceive but can’t really explain in a blanket all-encompassing manner.

The music was NOT made for the social scenery of

  • ❌ Residential listening at home
  • ❌ Travelling listening for journeys outside

It was instead made for

  • ✅ Compilation CD’s

I later spoke to a musician who appeared on one of these CD’s, with my opinion of what I just said above and he said

Exactly! That’s the whole point! To make money!

To which I responded….

But look at Track 6 and 15 on the CD. That sounds like songs X and Y from 5 years ago. How do you expect to make money from the potential customers who like [INSERT GENRE HERE] if by making music for compilation CD’s instead of albums, the quality, originality and creativity goes DOWN. What about those who have been listening to that genre for YEARS?

To then which he replied

We’re not trying to sell music to early adopters like you. We ONLY want to sell music to late adopters.


You can apply the same logic to EVERY genre that ends up getting virality, buzz, column inches and grapevine activity.

It also happened to tech house.

What Happened To Tech House? | Resident Advisor

The trend-hoppers realised that there’s more money to be made to put ONE song on a compilation CD of 20 songs to slot theirs in amongst 19 other musicians, than it is to actually spend the time and effort to make a high quality album.

Ironically, the way to stand out within a compilation, is to copy songs from 2-5 years ago.

The music and most of its associated genre, became kitsch as it was merely conventions devoid of concept.

This is one of many reasons, why music and certain genres, sucks today, compared to so many years ago.

When television becomes kitsch

Why The Simpsons sucked since the mid 00’s

I’m old enough to remember the REAL reason why The Simpsons sucks and has done for over 10 years. 😥

When that tv show came out before I was born, it was good and remained good throughout the entire 90s and the early 00s. It became bad somewhere in the 00s.

What happened was that there was NEW demographic that got created for tv shows, completely by complete accidental chance, that NEVER existed when that tv show first started.

  1. Tween minus = teenagers + 8-12 year olds
  2. Tween plus = teenagers + young adults 18-21

To give some examples

  • Tween Plus: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Ghost Whisperer, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Daria
  • Tween Minus: Kim Possible, That’s So Raven, Teen Titans (not go)

There probably was some other tv shows but I can’t remember.

It was those sorts of tv shows that were going viral that the kids and young adults were talking about at work and school and creating FANSITES (on geocities and angelfire) about it.

The producers and writers of The Simpsons were not happy with the success they already had, they wanted more success, so they wanted to be a tween plus or minus tv show.

However the writers were a “one trick pony” and they could only write in the one style, the one they were accustomed to for years. They could not adapt.

The writer of South Park, Trey Parker, who wrote EVERY episode 100% by himself for over 20 years, he is VERSATILE as a writer as he can adapt towards different styles.

The writers of The Simpsons could not adapt their style and were a one trick pony.

Me and my brother used to play a game when we were kids. We had a list of 3-4 tv shows and we would PREDICT which tv show the episode would be copying, to see if we were right once the tv show ended.

The Simpsons should have ended over 10 years ago. One trick pony writers shouldn’t be having shoddy genre attempts on tv.

So yeah, the tv show became kitsch.
They copied the conventions of other tv shows, like colour by numbers but they couldn’t copy the concepts.

Now I can’t give an example of what kitsch writing looks like because I don’t read books because I don’t want to influence or prejudice my own.

Now for the next PART of my point.

Further Reading

Here’s some good articles about kitsche.

Also read the book Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avante Garde, Decadence, Kitsch from Page 225 onwards

How can I tell if something is kitsch and is there a standardised criteria?

:Lumi_star_shoot::Lumi_sparkles_colorful::Lumi_star_shoot::Lumi_sparkles_colorful::Lumi_star_shoot::Lumi_sparkles_colorful:I know what it is, when I see it.:Lumi_star_shoot::Lumi_sparkles_colorful::Lumi_star_shoot::Lumi_sparkles_colorful::Lumi_star_shoot::Lumi_sparkles_colorful: This artwork would be given the pejorative of kitsch. Not to be confused with cliché where something is repeated so many times over and over again, that it becomes boring, kitsche is then when something is trying to copy a style but is lacking the conceptual meaning and depth, so it doesn’t really embody the season of the era in any resonant or postural sense.


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