Art and Mass culture
Art and Mass Culture
The above title belongs to an important text written by the thinker Max Horkheimer. Horkheimer, together with Adorno, Lowenthal and Marcuse comprised the founding members of the renowned Frankfurt School, a philosophical movement that analyzed, among others, the impact of capitalized societies to individuals. According to the members of the Frankfurt School, mass culture is actually an invention of the economical elite in order to control and manipulate humans who at the same time were civilians, workers, parents etc. Mass culture succeeded to alienate individuals from their real needs, to make them embrace a pseudo-cultural pattern for their lives.
In the meantime, real culture has been either mummified (monumental works in museums) or exiled from the everyday life, becoming an underground ideal. Art can no longer compete to mainstream pseudo-culture that fills the most of the free time of the contemporary man and, thus, becomes a rare pleasure for the few. That is the most dangerous and alarming consequence of the above state; that art no longer constitutes a guide for critical thinking on reality. From the moment it stops to be part of the everyday life, it cannot fulfill ipso facto the very scope of its “mission”: to elevate things to another level and, thereby, to develop critical ideas around reality.
 Taken from Zisis Sarikas introduction to: “Τέχνη και Μαζική Κουλτούρα”, Athens, 1984, ύψιλον publications