November 18, 2017
Pre-emptive kitsch offers fake emotions, and at the same time a pretended rejection of the thing it offers. The artist pretends to take himself seriously, the critics pretend to judge his product and the modernist establishment pretends to promote it. At the end of all this pretence, someone who cannot perceive the difference between advertising (which is a means) and art (which is an end) decides that he should buy it. Only at this point does the chain of pretence come to an end, and the real value of postmodernist art reveal itself — namely, its value in monetary exchange. Even at this point, however, the pretence is important. The purchaser must still believe that what he buys is real art, and therefore intrinsically valuable, a bargain at any price. Otherwise, the price would reflect the obvious fact that anybody — even the purchaser — could have faked such a product. The essence of fakes is that they are substitutes for themselves, avatars of the infinite mise-en-abyme that lies behind every saleable thing.
Roger Scruton — The Great Swindle