Susan Sontag published Notes on Camp in 1964, looking at popular culture and the idea of taste through an academic lens at a time when the divide between elite and mass culture was collapsing with alarming speed. Cultural commentary like Sontag’s, which guides us and gives us a clue about where we are and what we are and maybe even where we’re heading next, is as important now as ever, so it’s wonderful to see Sara Cwynar’s Kitsch Encyclopedia rigorously deliberating what it might mean for something to be kitsch, and locating the idea of kitsch in the contemporary image world, especially that of the internet.
The beautiful book published by Blonde Art Books brings together essays from theorists Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard and Milan Kundera, accompanied by striking photographs of all things kitsch from A-Z. Folky knick-knacks, silly souvenirs and monstrous fake flower bouquets are in abundance, aptly printed on baby pink paper alongside the thought-provoking text. All in all, it seems clear to us that you’ve got good taste if you’re reading this book.