Rehabilitating Rockwell from the Culture of Kitsch

When in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the Avant-garde were given powerful platforms to announce that traditional art forms were passé, and art galleries exchanged space for the mystic likes of Picasso, Surrealism, and in some degree Andy Warhol, etc., they arguably prepared the way for the denial of natural gender distinctions and the binary structures of nature itself.

Traditional art, even at it’s most creative, always maintained a recognizable relationship to the object re-presented.

But Reality can be so boring. Many traditional style artists after Picasso and comrades were cancelled. Art and architecture were often cheapened beyond belief.

Hallucinations are increasingly preferred to reality today by many in power and even in medical schools because people are easier to experiment with when they are not certain of their footing and what the unbending truth is. SH

Rehabilitating Rockwell from the Culture of Kitsch

By Aaron Walayat.

Rockwell’s work has long been criticized. Some disregard it as “low art” made for commercial purposes. Others criticize it for portraying an idyllic America that “never was,” unreflective of America’s pluralism (a pluralism that existed in Rockwell’s own time). Certainly, Rockwell’s cultural themes typically focus on white Americans. Religious themes are either generically Christian or vaguely in. Class themes focus on people of comfortable means. Rockwell’s world is too pretty, too innocent, not real.

Defenders of Rockwell, on the other hand, typically cite his later work. They perhaps note that the Saturday Evening Post, whose covers Rockwell illustrated for forty-seven years, had placed serious artistic restrictions on Rockwell’s illustrations. Furthermore, early Rockwell is indicative of a certain time, an early twentieth century America that was already nostalgic for unspecified “good old days.” Later, in 1963, Rockwell would leave the Post for Look magazine. It was in his work with Look where Rockwell explored more serious themes, such as the civil rights movement.

Rockwell’s defenders will also cite The Problem We All Live With (1964) and Murder in Mississippi (1964) as counter examples of the accusation that Rockwell’s work is mere nostalgic musings. Later Rockwell provided a fuller picture of an America entering into the early Rockwell’s idyllic world. Rockwell’s 1967 painting New Kids in the Neighborhood, I think, is the best example of this.

Is Rockwell Kitsch?

Read it all…

Phil. 4:8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”