Highbrow, Lowbrow, Middlebrow – Who Cares?

Highbrow, Lowbrow, Middlebrow – Who Cares?

Writer Thomas Mallon has a great piece on the quickly accelerating landscape of art, specifically, the decaying differences between highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow art. I think his analysis nails the issue perfectly on the head.

On the whole, however, the sheer availability of so much art, its ubiquity in the wide, wireless world of the present, assures that more and more blends and mash-ups and integrations are bound to occur. To some extent, people used to settle on a brow for themselves and then pattern their reading and viewing and listening accordingly. Increasingly, art at all levels now comes to us, seizes our attention for a few digital moments before being elbowed aside by something else. More catholic tastes seem bound to result from more catholic exposure, our brows raising and lowering themselves like a spreadable iPhone photo. (Of course, Shakespeare’s audience never had trouble doing that in the course of a single evening, laughing at rustic horseplay and thrilling to lyrical declamations in the same production.)

August 7, 2014 / By

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