Urban Fold

The Exuberance of Tackiness

Aaron Betsky, director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, says, "Americans can't even do tacky anymore," saying that the gaudy architecture and design of Las Vegas and Atlantic City have been sanitized and replaced by generic City Center-style banality.

Betsky spent a few hours in Atlantic City last week, and was dismayed to find that the unique "gimcrackery" of the boardwalk, now on fine display in TV's Boardwalk Empire, has been glossed over in favor of the sameness of chain stores:

"...the endless sameness of the boardwalk itself create an environment without any sense of differentiation, complexity or, what is most important, uncomfortable and unknowable edges. You see it all, it all overwhelms you, you are told where to go, and only the absence of cars makes it all strange."

"Instead of salt water taffy you buy Starbucks coffee."

Full Story: The Evil of Banality

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