In Praise of Cheese: The “Bad Taste” Revolution Unravels in Madrid


According to the Royal Spanish Academy, a cheesy person would be that person who “intends to be elegant and refined without succeeding.” In its second meaning, it would be that thing that, “with an appearance of elegance or delicacy, is pretentious and in bad taste.” Without detracting from the excellent work of the academics, if one considers what cheese has provided itself with throughout history, the definition is a bit short.

The word cheesy cannot be translated into any other language. The fact that she was (strictly speaking, she was) exclusively SpanishJosé Ortega y Gasset defended it in 1929. If one were to analyze, magnifying glass in hand, the meaning of a cliché – continued the philosopher – in which all Spanish history from 1850 to 1900 would be concentrated. In an abnormally poor town forced to live in the atmosphere of nineteenth-century European, in A shadow of complete democracy and capitalism.

As the author pointed out The masses rebelledThe term corsi appeared in the Spanish language in the 19th century, although its origin is still a matter of debate. For some scholars, this would be an abbreviation for cursive, the cursive cursive that was popular in England during the eighteenth century. To others it would be about the sécors, the sisters from Cadiz who imitated Parisian fashion, exaggerated it and hid stains and tears in their frilled frocks, and to whom their neighbors walked about town, shouting at them. To them: “Secor! Secor! Secor! Secor!”

“Cowardice is a very broad phenomenon with two sides. On the one hand It is a disruptive phenomenon, because deep down cowardice was breaking the imposed rule, and on the other hand, it was about class issues. Vulgar men, for example, question the manhood of the time because, to begin with, They are men who buy, when it was normal for men not to buy, but to produce. In addition, they pay attention to appearance and fashion, especially the French, and not the Spaniards, which was also controversial. Added to this is that although cowards were men and women of the working class who imitated the morals of the bourgeoisie, those bourgeois who imitated the methods of the aristocracy and even those aristocrats who imitated the ways that came from France could also be cowardly. he explains Sergio RubiraProfessor of Art History at UCM, Member of the Acquisitions Committee Madrid Museum of Contemporary Art and curator vulgar praise.

This exhibition, which will remain open at the CentroCentro until October 8, includes nearly a hundred objects including furniture, decorative objects, picture novels, comics, postcards, advertising posters, advertisements and plays, mostly from the collections of museums and archives in Madrid. Curvy is closely associated with the Industrial Revolution and mass production. That’s why it’s easy to find it in all sorts of things and disciplines, like painting, fashion, literature, and even architecture. An example of this is precisely the Antonio Palacios Post Office and Communications Building where CentroCentro is located. The scheme is copied almost verbatim from Otto Wagner’s Building of the Secession, but the elevation has Manueline and Plateresque elements that make everything very pretentious and Buzz has a lot to do with cornflowersRobbie says.

From the frenzied positional

Historically, it was the dominant classes that determined the validity of artistic expressions. It is the social, economic and cultural elite who decide what good taste is Al-Hanty’s appearance was greeted by the oligarch as a provocation and a threat For his privileges, which did not go unanswered on his part.

Personalities with a conservative profile, eg Francisco Silvela, they severely criticized cheese because they considered it a kind of revolution of the masses in terms of taste. Another very funny example of this interaction was implemented Emilia Bardot Bazin. In 1890, the author published a text on Spanish women in which she criticized bourgeois women as cowards for reading columns called “los salons,” a kind of Welcome! From the nineteenth century. However, eight years later, Pardo Bazin allowed himself to be photographed in his Madrid home with all the decorations and to take pictures with his friends. in the background, What I really criticized was that these women wanted to aspire to what she had Because she was a countess and considered cowardice a break with the idea of ​​the elite.

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Unlike other art movements, which fell into oblivion after periods of splendor, cowardice has survived the passage of time and has known how to adapt to new media and technologies. Examples of this are paintings costs And novels Corinne Telado present in the exhibition or kitten powerpoint It is being shared day by day on WhatsApp.

cost us. Decorative design for ceramics 1983 (private collection). / waive it

Premium consciously uses items that come from cutesy or kitsch also camp Because they know that there are three concepts that speak of bad taste. For her part, Corinne Telado, who writes sentimental novels aimed at a female audience, despite being clichéd, claims to be a great writer because, deep down, she follows the tradition of authors like Alexandre Dumas which, originally, was also composed for mass consumption. Other than those examples, Cheese is still with us Although we now refer to it with other terms such as, for example, “nice” or “unilateral”, reflects Sergio Rubiera, who would respond to the persistence of this cowardice throughout Connection with nostalgia and passion. “Cats make us tender and the romantic love concept of romance is so ingrained between us that we keep having these same thoughts when we’re in love. I think that’s where the continuity happens that makes cowardice keep coming.”

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