Kitsch - Abraham Moles

Kitsch - Abraham Moles

Kitsch: The Art of Bad Taste

In his seminal work, "Kitsch: The Art of Bad Taste," Abraham Moles delves into the fascinating realm of kitsch, a cultural phenomenon that has captivated and intrigued audiences for centuries. Moles provides a comprehensive analysis of kitsch, exploring its origins, characteristics, and impact on society. Through his insightful observations and thought-provoking arguments, Moles challenges conventional notions of art and aesthetics, inviting readers to reconsider their perceptions of what constitutes good and bad taste.

Understanding Kitsch

Moles begins by defining kitsch as "the art of the counterfeit," a form of art that imitates and distorts genuine artistic expression. He argues that kitsch is not simply a matter of bad taste or poor craftsmanship, but rather a deliberate attempt to appeal to the masses by exploiting their sentimental and nostalgic tendencies. Kitsch thrives on the familiar and the predictable, offering a comforting sense of recognition and belonging.

Characteristics of Kitsch

Moles identifies several key characteristics that distinguish kitsch from other forms of art. These include:

  • Exaggeration and sentimentality: Kitsch often relies on exaggerated emotions and sentimental appeals to evoke a strong response from the audience.
  • Lack of originality: Kitsch lacks originality and creativity, often borrowing heavily from existing artistic styles and conventions.
  • Mass production: Kitsch is mass-produced and widely disseminated, making it accessible to a broad audience.
  • Commercialization: Kitsch is closely tied to commercial interests, often serving as a means to sell products or promote ideologies.

The Impact of Kitsch

Moles argues that kitsch has a significant impact on society, shaping cultural values and influencing individual taste. He identifies several negative consequences of kitsch, including:

  • The decline of genuine art: Kitsch can overshadow and marginalize genuine artistic expression, leading to a decline in cultural standards.
  • The spread of mediocrity: Kitsch promotes a culture of mediocrity, where the pursuit of cheap thrills and instant gratification takes precedence over true artistic merit.
  • The erosion of critical thinking: Kitsch encourages a passive and uncritical acceptance of cultural products, discouraging independent thought and analysis.


In "Kitsch: The Art of Bad Taste," Abraham Moles provides a compelling critique of kitsch, exposing its negative effects on society and challenging conventional notions of art and aesthetics. Through his insightful analysis, Moles encourages readers to question their own taste and to seek out genuine artistic experiences that enrich and challenge the mind.

Why You Should Read "Kitsch: The Art of Bad Taste"

"Kitsch: The Art of Bad Taste" is a must-read for anyone interested in art, culture, and the human condition. Moles' thought-provoking insights offer a fresh perspective on the role of kitsch in society, inviting readers to reconsider their own perceptions of what constitutes good and bad taste. Whether you are an art aficionado, a cultural critic, or simply someone curious about the world around you, this book promises to challenge your assumptions and leave you with a deeper understanding of the complex relationship between art and society.