High Culture and Low in the Modern Arts
Among the most important phenomena of modernity is the blurring of the sharp distinction between high culture and popular culture that for centuries supported the system of the arts. Faced with a growing “aesthetic democracy” of the bourgeois world, high art has to respond to a public that no longer coincides with the exclusive upper classes, which traditionally commissioned works by artists, architects, and writers. While modernism and the avant-gardes claimed an independence that refused to make concessions to the public’s imagination, the artistic languages (historicism, kitsch, pop, postmodernism...) spread various forms of hybridisation between high culture and a culture that began as “low” and has progressively become mass culture. The course explores these artistic languages.