What happens when we mix high and low culture?

High culture and low culture – for centuries these were clearly defined – yet nowadays they are increasingly mixed.

High culture refers to the high standard of excellence in the arts. On the other hand, low culture refers to works of art that are rustic or made by untrained artists, and can also be called pop culture.  Both have their place, but should they be combined?


Operas are more and more like musicals, paintings are less and less refined and don’t have the high standard of renaissance art anymore. It’s not uncommon to see a rapper collaborating with an orchestra. We can witness pop-culture penetrating the world of fine art.


You could argue this is a good thing, but there is a problem here. High culture requires preparation and training to reach a high standard of excellence.  To be completely accessible for everyone to achieve, standards have to be lowered as well — and this shouldn’t happen.

The pure beauty of high culture art inspires us to be better people, refines our character and enhances our spirituality. It shouldn’t change in order to fit anybody, instead it should elevate us.

Let’s look at a way McDonald’s have combined high and the low culture:

McDonald’s is a company from low or pop culture, and have used high culture to promote their products. Here, an orchestra plays music to their surprised customers, and is quite fun.  The artists and musicians display high professional skill, however the ad comes across as if they are performing a gimmick.

What do you think of the ad? And is there a place that high culture and low culture can meet?

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