Publication

Publication: Sara Cwynar's Kitsch Encyclopedia is in very good taste

Posted by Madeleine Morley,

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.

  • Kitsch2

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

  • Kitsch_3

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

  • Kitsch_8

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

  • Kitsch_4

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

  • Kitsch_10

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

  • Kitsch1

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

  • Kitsch7

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

  • Kitsch6

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

  • Kitsch9

    Sara Cwynar: Kitsch Encyclopedia

Oo-xtcya

Posted by Madeleine Morley

Madeleine joined It’s Nice That as a freelance editorial assistant in May 2014 having graduated from Cambridge University where she edited the student newspaper. In the autumn of 2014 she will begin her Masters course at The Courtauld Institute of Art where she will specialise in architecture.

Most Recent: Publication View Archive

  1. List

    New York based studio Open is being faithful to its name, launching a book that shows us all how it works, what it does and why it does it. The book, named Design for People, is written by Open founder Scott Stowell and his team, with the noble aim to “democratise design” by running over graphic design and branding case studies in a way Scott reckons “everyone can understand.”

  2. List

    Back in August, Thames & Hudson published Collector’s Edition, a stunning book collecting collector’s editions of music and literature releases. Now, to continue the rather meta trajectory of the original, the book’s author and creative director, Stuart Tolley, founder and director at creative agency Transmission, has released a collector’s edition of Collector’s Edition in the form of an “artist cover bomb” series, which has seen ten artists whose work appears in the book decorate a copy, and which will be sold in an online auction to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society. He talks us through the “very loose” brief he set the participants, and how it felt for him to have the likes of Paul McCartney and Nick Cave decorating a book he created.

  3. List

    French illustrator Anne Simon first came to our attention this time last year when she teamed up with psychoanalyst Corinne Maier to bring us an informative, witty and thoroughly charming graphic guide to Freud. She’s back, to our delight, with a new and somewhat more sinister tale, Cixtite Impératrice which is no less brilliant.

  4. List

    Identity is a hot topic these days especially with social media adding to the frenzy and completely blurring the lines between who you are and how you want to be seen. So Ricardo Ferrol and Johannes Bauer’s book created for their bachelor’s thesis while studying at Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmündart in Germany is a refreshing take on what identity means.

  5. List

    We often talk about the difficult second album at It’s Nice That, the problem being that when you pour every ounce of passion you have into version zero of a new project it can be tricky to replicate this energy the second time around. Rather than falling into that old trap though, the creators of art and commerce focused publication Noon appear to have taken a great leap over it. Following up from the first issue of which we made no secret of fawning over last time around they’ve somehow found time to sit back, regroup and then set out to create something even more impressive with issue two. Safe to say, it’s quite something to behold.

  6. List

    It’s been five months since Airbnb unveiled its shiny new brand identity and Belo logomark; five months since the internet went berserk with genitalia-inspired interpretations of DesignStudio’s stylised letter A. Needless to say in those five months the furore surrounding the brand has died down somewhat and the longevity of their new aesthetic has become clearer. Despite the initial fuss it looks like they’re still going strong.

  7. List-2

    “Hello, my name is Benjamin, but friends call me Benji,” begins the editor’s letter in the first edition of Benji Knewman, a new printed publication with the tagline “life that you can read.” Benji Knewman’s tone is so warm and inviting and tinged with the accent of its native Latvia that we can’t decide whether Benji’s a real life contributor (he’s listed as editor-at-large on the masthead) or a fictional construct created to lure us in. If it’s the former, we apologise for doubting you Benji, but if it’s the latter, it’s working marvellously.

  8. List

    Kids are weird. Granted I say this as a 30-year-old man with no children, no nieces and nephews and no godchildren, but in the limited dealings I have had with babies and toddlers and whatever you call those ones that are older than toddlers, they are all pretty bizarre. Artist and longtime friend of the site Lenka Clayton has confirmed my suspicions with her project called 63 Objects Taken From My Son’s Mouth..

  9. List-2

    Marrying a playful typographic approach, sensitive illustrations and deliciously tactile gold foil, the cover of The Recorder is a great indication of its contents: a beautifully designed ode to typography and its omnipresence.

  10. List

    There were poignant scenes in Berlin yesterday when the city marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the wide-ranging ramifications it had for the city, the country and indeed the world. Unsurprisingly such an historic milestone inspired various creative projects, from the terrific 8,000 balloon installation which ran the length of the old wall to Airbnb’s animation about reunification and remembering.

  11. List

    As the chilly nights of winter draw in, the sun-kissed samba fantasy that was this summer’s World Cup in Brazil seems lightyears ago. Creative projects inspired by the tournament were as prolific as the German team’s strikers, but it’s always nice to see something a little different, such as this lovely Brasil 2014 publication from the excellent Neil Bedford. Neil was at the tournament as part of a collaboration between Visa and our pals at The Green Soccer Journal but this booklet seems to include those pictures which weren’t used as part of that campaign. There’s wit and passion and pride and intensity throughout the images and an extraordinary shot of an Argentine supporter seemingly walking into the waves.

  12. List-2

    “It’s my magazine and I’ll photograph it in a hydrangea bush if I want to” I imagine editors Bertrand Trichet and Olivier Talbot singing as they snapped away. And why not? The brand new third issue of surfing magazine Acid is fluorescent pink, so it looks perfectly at home against some nice botany.

  13. List

    A year ago Darren Wall’s new games publishers Read-Only Memory released its first book charting the history of Sensible Software, a company whose creations defined many of our childhoods and teenage years.