With funding from its Kickstarter campaign, and co-published with Blonde Art Books, Sara Cwynar’s Kitsch Encyclopedia, alphabetically links thought-provoking text with beautiful illustrations, folky bric-a-brac, and plenty of nostalgia. Cwynar’s inclusion of her own writings, alongside that of Milan Kundera, Roland Barthes, and Jean Baudrillard help to explore themes on ‘kitsch;’ its relation to the changing culture of images, our consumption of these images, and how they often skew reality. In a similar vein to Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp (1964) and Andy Warhol’s The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (1975), Kitsch Encyclopedia looks at popular culture and the idea of taste. In doing so, the book, much like a time capsule, takes stock of where we are, what we are, and perhaps forecasts where we’re headed next. Cwynar describes it best in her introduction, “Kitsch is the means through which complex human experience is distilled down to simple, sentimental motifs and ideas. Kitsch is thus a form of control, a means of dealing with the unknown and ignoring what cannot be dealt with.” Kitsch Encyclopedia is a hardback book with 189 full-color pages and was printed in an edition of 1000.
Sara Cwynar Published with Blonde Art Books, Brooklyn, NY, 2014