In a story I was editing, I came across something like:
"This avant-garde film movement was a response to the perceived artifice of
1950s mainstream cinema."
Not sure what the writer was trying to say, but I have a feeling artifice wasn't the word to say it:
artifice 1. An artful or crafty expedient; a stratagem. See Synonyms at wile. 2. Subtle but base deception; trickery. 3. Cleverness or skill; ingenuity. -- American Heritage Dictionary (via dictionary.com)
Did the writer mean artificiality, saccharine quality, phoniness? We'll never know.