Aug 10, 2009

Why Do Dictators Love Kitsch?


Remember the horrendous backdrop of the Clinton-Kim Jong Il photo? Eric Gibson over at the Wall Street Journal does. Today, he has an excellent article on the eternal love between ruthless dictators and their bizarre monuments to totalitarian kitsch:

“This is no ordinary painting but art with a purpose. What seem to our eye as limitations are the result of deliberate intent. It’s a piece of political propaganda. As such it belongs to a subspecies of kitsch known as totalitarian kitsch, where art’s sole raison d’etre is to bolster a dictatorial regime and glorify its leader.”

All of this is well and good, but I wonder how Gibson would classify the monstrosity below. It's one form of political propaganda that will forever be seared on my retinas.

7 comments:

Ern said...

The second photo was supposed to be US kitsch, to be fair. Check the insignia. That is supposed to be Columbus, and not Peter the Great.

Pirates(and)Diplomats said...

Oh, I know all about it. I had to look at this statue every morning and night.

Ern said...

HAHAHAHAHA! It is pretty horrendous. I'm VERY glad it did not make it to the states, and VERY glad I lived several miles away from it in Moscow.

Sublime Oblivion said...

We have an interesting discussion on kitsh here, especially in the comments.

LIVLIVS MAXIMVS said...

Do you know who prepared all those statues and sculptures of Turkmenbashi, like the one in the first photo?

Possible answer is here...

Pirates(and)Diplomats said...

It's my understanding they were not made by human hands, but delivered on the wings of angels; a gift from God as tribute from heaven to the Turkmenbashi.

Ern said...

and his mom.