Kitsch
Overview
 
Kitsch (ˈkɪtʃ, loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

 from German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

) is a form of art that is considered an inferior, tasteless
Taste (sociology)
Taste as an aesthetic, sociological, economic and anthropological concept refers to a cultural patterns of choice and preference. While taste is often understood as a biological concept, it can also be reasonably studied as a social or cultural phenomenon. Taste is about drawing distinctions...

 copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icon
Cultural icon
A cultural icon can be a symbol, logo, picture, name, face, person, building or other image that is readily recognized and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group...

s while making cheap mass-produced
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

 objects that are unoriginal. Kitsch also refers to the types of art that are aesthetically deficient (whether or not being sentimental, glamorous, theatrical, or creative) and that make creative gestures which merely imitate the superficial appearances of art through repeated conventions and formulae.
Encyclopedia
Kitsch (ˈkɪtʃ, loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

 from German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

) is a form of art that is considered an inferior, tasteless
Taste (sociology)
Taste as an aesthetic, sociological, economic and anthropological concept refers to a cultural patterns of choice and preference. While taste is often understood as a biological concept, it can also be reasonably studied as a social or cultural phenomenon. Taste is about drawing distinctions...

 copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icon
Cultural icon
A cultural icon can be a symbol, logo, picture, name, face, person, building or other image that is readily recognized and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group...

s while making cheap mass-produced
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

 objects that are unoriginal. Kitsch also refers to the types of art that are aesthetically deficient (whether or not being sentimental, glamorous, theatrical, or creative) and that make creative gestures which merely imitate the superficial appearances of art through repeated conventions and formulae. Excessive sentimentality
Sentimentality
Sentimentality originally indicated the reliance on feelings as a guide to truth, but current usage defines it as an appeal to shallow, uncomplicated emotions at the expense of reason....

 often is associated with the term.

The contemporary definition of kitsch is considered derogatory, denoting works executed to pander to popular demand alone and purely for commercial purposes rather than works created as self-expression by an artist. The term is generally reserved for unsubstantial and gaudy works that are calculated to have popular appeal and are considered pretentious and shallow rather than genuine artistic efforts.

The concept of kitsch is applied to artwork that was a response to the 19th century art with aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

 that convey exaggerated sentimentality
Sentimentality
Sentimentality originally indicated the reliance on feelings as a guide to truth, but current usage defines it as an appeal to shallow, uncomplicated emotions at the expense of reason....

 and melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

, hence, kitsch art is closely associated with sentimental art.

Etymology

As a descriptive term, kitsch originated in the art markets of Munich in the 1860s and the 1870s, describing cheap, popular, and marketable pictures and sketches. In Das Buch vom Kitsch (The Book of Kitsch), Hans Reimann
Hans Reimann (writer)
Hans Reimann was a German satirist, novelist, and playwright. He wrote under the pseudonyms Max Bunge, Hans Heinrich, Artur Sünder, Hanns Heinz Vampir, and Andreas Zeltner.-Biography:...

 defines it as a professional expression “born in a painter's studio”. Writer Edward Koelwel rejects the suggestion that kitsch derives from the English word sketch, noting how the sketch was not then in vogue, and saying that kitsch art pictures were well-executed, finished paintings rather than sketches.

Early uses of the term

Kitsch appealed to the crass tastes of the newly moneyed Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, who allegedly thought they could achieve the status they envied in the traditional class of cultural elites by aping, however clumsily, the most apparent features of their cultural habits.

Kitsch became defined as an aesthetically impoverished object of shoddy production, meant more to identify the consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

 with a newly acquired class status than to invoke a genuine aesthetic response. In this sense, the word eventually came to mean "a slapping together" (of a work of art).

Kitsch was considered morally dubious and to have sacrificed aesthetic life to a pantomime of aesthetic life, usually, but not always, in the interest of signaling one's class status.

Relationship to aesthetics debated

There is a philosophical background to kitsch criticism, however, which is largely ignored. A notable exception to the lack of such debate is Gabrielle Thuller, who points to how kitsch criticism is based on Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

's philosophy of aesthetics.

Kant describes the direct appeal to the senses as "barbaric". Thuller's point is supported by Mark A. Cheetham, who points out that kitsch "is his Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

's barbarism". A source book on texts critical of kitsch underlines this by including excerpts from the writings of Kant and Schiller.

One, thus, has to keep in mind two things:
a) Kant's enormous influence on the concept of "fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

" (the focus of Cheetham's book), as it came into being in the mid to late 18th century, and
b) how "sentimentality" or "pathos
Pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

", which are the defining traits of kitsch, do not find room within Kant's "aesthetical indifference".

Kant also identified genius with originality. One could say he implicitly was rejecting kitsch, the presence of sentimentality and the lack of originality being the main accusations against it.

When originality alone is used to determine artistic genius, using it as a single focus may become problematic when the art of some periods is examined. In the Baroque period, for example, a painter was hailed for his ability to imitate other masters, one such imitator being Luca Giordano
Luca Giordano
Luca Giordano was an Italian late Baroque painter and printmaker in etching. Fluent and decorative, he worked successfully in Naples and Rome, Florence and Venice, before spending a decade in Spain....

.

Another influential philosopher writing on fine art was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

, who emphasized the idea of the artist belonging to the spirit of his time, or zeitgeist
Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist is "the spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age."Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.The...

.

As an effect of these aesthetics, working with emotional and "unmodern" or "archetypical" motifs was referred to as kitsch from the second half of the 19th century on. Kitsch is thus seen as "false".

As Thomas Kulka writes, "the term kitsch was originally applied exclusively to paintings", but it soon spread to other disciplines, such as music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

. The term has been applied to painters, such as Ilya Repin, and composers, such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

, whom Hermann Broch
Hermann Broch
Hermann Broch was a 20th century Austrian writer, considered one of the major Modernists.-Life:Broch was born in Vienna to a prosperous Jewish family and worked for some time in his family's factory, though he maintained his literary interests privately...

 refers to as "genialischer kitsch", or "kitsch of genius".

Roda Roda claimed in a 1906 newspaper article to be the only person who knew the true origin of "kitsch," which - according to him - derived from "ver" and "kitt", or putting, pasting, etc. something together wrong.

Art and kitsch defined as opposites

The word, kitsch, was popularized in the 1930s by the art theorists Theodor Adorno, Hermann Broch
Hermann Broch
Hermann Broch was a 20th century Austrian writer, considered one of the major Modernists.-Life:Broch was born in Vienna to a prosperous Jewish family and worked for some time in his family's factory, though he maintained his literary interests privately...

, and Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

, who each sought to define avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 and kitsch as opposites. The art world of the time perceived the immense popularity of kitsch as a threat to culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

. The arguments of all three theorists relied on an implicit definition of kitsch as a type of false consciousness, a Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 term meaning a mindset present within the structures of capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 that is misguided as to its own desires and wants. Marxists believe there to be a disjunction between the real state of affairs and the way that they phenomenally appear.
Adorno perceived this in terms of what he called the "culture industry
Culture industry
Culture industry is a term coined by critical theorists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer , who argued in the chapter of their book Dialectic of Enlightenment, 'The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception' ; that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods...

", where the art is controlled and formulated by the needs of the market and given to a passive population which accepts it—what is marketed is art that is non-challenging and formally incoherent, but which serves its purpose of giving the audience leisure and something to watch or observe. It helps serve the oppression of the population of capitalism by distracting them from their social alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

. Contrarily for Adorno, art is supposed to be subjective, challenging, and oriented against the oppressiveness of the power structure. He claimed that kitsch is parody
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of catharsis
Catharsis
Catharsis or katharsis is a Greek word meaning "cleansing" or "purging". It is derived from the verb καθαίρειν, kathairein, "to purify, purge," and it is related to the adjective καθαρός, katharos, "pure or clean."-Dramatic uses:...

 and a parody of aesthetic experience.

Broch called kitsch "the evil within the value-system of art"—that is, if true art is "good", kitsch is "evil". While art was creative, Broch held that kitsch depended solely on plundering creative art by adopting formulas that seek to imitate it, limiting itself to conventions and demanding a totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

 of those recognizable conventions. Broch accuses kitsch of not participating in the development of art, having its focus directed at the past, as Greenberg speaks of its concern with previous cultures. To Broch, kitsch was not the same as bad art; it formed a system of its own. He argued that kitsch involved trying to achieve "beauty" instead of "truth" and that any attempt to make something beautiful would lead to kitsch. Consequently, he opposed the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 to Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

.

Greenberg held similar views to Broch concerning the beauty and truth dichotomy, believing that the avant-garde style arose in order to defend aesthetic standards from the decline of taste involved in consumer society and that kitsch and art were opposites, which he outlined in his essay "Avant-Garde and Kitsch".

Relationship to totalitarianism

Other theorists over time also have linked kitsch to totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

 and its propaganda. The Czech
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 writer Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera , born 1 April 1929, is a writer of Czech origin who has lived in exile in France since 1975, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1981. He is best known as the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and The Joke. Kundera has written in...

, in his book The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Unbearable Lightness of Being , written by Milan Kundera, is a philosophical novel about two men, two women, a dog and their lives in the Prague Spring of the Czechoslovak Communist period in 1968. Although written in 1982, the novel was not published until two years later, in France...

(1984), defined it as "the absolute denial of shit". He wrote that kitsch functions by excluding from view everything that humans find difficult with which to come to terms, offering instead a sanitized view of the world, in which "all answers are given in advance and preclude any questions".

In its desire to paper over the complexities and contradictions of real life, kitsch, Kundera suggested, is intimately linked with totalitarianism. In a healthy democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, diverse interest groups compete and negotiate with one another to produce a generally acceptable consensus; by contrast, "everything that infringes on kitsch," including individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

, doubt, and irony
Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

, "must be banished for life" in order for kitsch to survive. Therefore, Kundera wrote, "Whenever a single political movement corners power we find ourselves in the realm of totalitarian kitsch."

For Kundera, "Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch."

Relationship to academic art

One of Greenberg's more controversial claims was that kitsch was equivalent to academic art
Academic art
Academic art is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism,...

: "All kitsch is academic, and conversely, all that is academic is kitsch." He argued this based on the fact that academic art, such as that in the nineteenth century, was heavily centered in rules and formulations that were taught and tried to make art into something that could be taught and easily expressible. He later came to withdraw from his position of equating the two, as it became heavily criticized.

Often nineteenth century academic art still is seen as kitsch, although this view is coming under attack from modern art critic
Art critic
An art critic is a person who specializes in evaluating art. Their written critiques, or reviews, are published in newspapers, magazines, books and on web sites...

s. Broch argued that the genesis of kitsch was in Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, which wasn't kitsch itself, but which opened the door for kitsch taste by emphasizing the need for expressive and evocative art work. Academic art, which continued this tradition of Romanticism, has a twofold reason for its association with kitsch.
It is not that academic art was found to be accessible. In fact, it was under its reign that the difference between high art
High art
High art may refer to:*High Art, a 1998 feature film*Fine art...

 and low art first was defined by intellectuals. Academic art strove toward remaining in a tradition rooted in the aesthetic and intellectual experience. Intellectual and aesthetic qualities of the work were certainly there—good examples of academic art even were admired by the avant-garde artists who would rebel against it. There was some critique, however, that in being "too beautiful" and democratic it made art look easy, non-involving, and superficial. According to Tomas Kulka, any academic painting made after the time of academism, is kitsch by nature.

Many academic artists tried to use subjects from low art and ennoble them as high art by subjecting them to interest in the inherent qualities of form and beauty, trying to democratize
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 the art world. In England, certain academics even advocated that the artist should work for the marketplace. In some sense the goals of democratization succeeded and the society was flooded with academic art, with the public lining up to see art exhibitions as they do to see movies today.

Literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

 in art became widespread, as did the practice of art making, and there was a blurring of the division between high
High culture
High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

 and low culture
Low culture
Low culture is a term for some forms of popular culture. Its opposite is high culture. It has been said by culture theorists that both high culture and low culture are subcultures....

. This often led to poorly made or conceived artwork being accepted as high art. Often, art which was found to be kitsch showed technical talent, such as in creating accurate representations, but lacked good taste.

Furthermore, although original in their first expression, the subjects and images presented in academic art were disseminated to the public in the form of prints and postcard
Postcard
A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope....

s, which often actively was encouraged by the artists. These images were copied endlessly in kitschified form until they became well-known cliché
Cliché
A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning,...

s.

The avant-garde reacted to these developments by separating itself from aspects of art that were appreciated by the public, such as pictorial representation and harmony, in order to make a stand for the importance of the aesthetic. Many modern critics try not to pigeonhole academic art into the kitsch side of the art-or-kitsch dichotomy
Dichotomy
A dichotomy is any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts, meaning it is a procedure in which a whole is divided into two parts...

, recognizing its historical role in the genesis of both the avant-garde and kitsch.

Postmodernist interpretations

With the emergence of postmodernism
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 in the 1980s, the borders between kitsch and high art again became blurred. One development was the approval of what is called "camp
Camp (style)
Camp is an aesthetic sensibility that regards something as appealing because of its taste and ironic value. The concept is closely related to kitsch, and things with camp appeal may also be described as being "cheesy"...

 taste" - which may be related to, but is not the same as camp when used as a "gay sensibility". Camp, in some circles, refers to an ironic appreciation of that which might otherwise be considered corny, such as singer and dancer Carmen Miranda
Carmen Miranda
Carmen Miranda, GCIH was a Portuguese-born Brazilian samba singer, Broadway actress and Hollywood film star popular in the 1940s and 1950s. She was, by some accounts, the highest-earning woman in the United States and noted for her signature fruit hat outfit she wore in the 1943 movie The Gang's...

 with her tutti-frutti hats, or otherwise kitsch, such as popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 events that are particularly dated or inappropriately serious, such as the low-budget science fiction movies of the 1950s and 1960s.

A hypothetical example from the world of painting would be a kitsch image of a deer by a lake. In order to make this camp, one could paint a sign beside it, saying "No Swimming". The majestic or romantic impression of a stately animal would be punctured by humor; the notion of an animal receiving a punishment for the breach of the rule is patently ludicrous. The original, serious sentimentality of the motif is neutralized, and thus, it becomes camp.

"Camp" is derived from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 term camper, which means "to pose in an exaggerated fashion". Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag was an American author, literary theorist, feminist and political activist whose works include On Photography and Against Interpretation.-Life:...

 argued in her 1964 Notes on "Camp" that camp was an attraction to the human qualities which expressed themselves in "failed attempts at seriousness", the qualities of having a particular and unique style, and of reflecting the sensibilities of the era. It involved an aesthetic of artifice rather than of nature. Indeed, hard-line supporters of camp culture have long insisted that "camp is a lie that dares to tell the truth".
Much of pop art
Pop art
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art...

 attempted to incorporate images from popular culture and kitsch. These artists strove to maintain legitimacy by saying they were "quoting" imagery to make conceptual points, usually with the appropriation being ironic.

In Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, a movement arose called the Nuovi-nuovi ("new new"), which took a different route: instead of "quoting" kitsch in an ironic stance, it founded itself in a primitivism
Primitivism
Primitivism is a Western art movement that borrows visual forms from non-Western or prehistoric peoples, such as Paul Gauguin's inclusion of Tahitian motifs in paintings and ceramics...

 which embraced ugliness and garishness, emulating kitsch as a sort of anti-aesthetic.

A different approach is taken by the Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 painter Odd Nerdrum
Odd Nerdrum
Odd Nerdrum , is a Norwegian figurative painter. Themes and style in Nerdrum's work reference anecdote and narrative, while primary influences by the painters Rembrandt and Caravaggio place his work in direct conflict with the abstraction and conceptual art considered acceptable in much of his...

, who, in 1998, began to argue for kitsch as a positive term used as a superstructure for figurative, non-ironic, and narrative painting. In 2000, together with several other authors, he composed a book entitled On Kitsch, where he advocated the concept of "kitsch" as a more correct name than "art" for this type of painting. As a result of this redefinition proposed by Nerdrum, an increasing number of figurative painters are referring to themselves as "kitsch painters".

Conceptual art
Conceptual art
Conceptual art is art in which the concept or idea involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works, sometimes called installations, of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions...

 and deconstruction posed as interesting challenges, because, as with kitsch, they downplayed the formal structure of the artwork in favor of elements that enter it by relating to other spheres of life.

Despite this, many in the art world continue to adhere to some sense of the dichotomy between art and kitsch, excluding all sentimental and realistic
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 art from being considered seriously. This has come under attack by critics, who argue for a renewed appreciation of academic art and traditional figurative painting, without the concern for it appearing innovative or new.

In any case, whatever difficulty there is in defining boundaries between kitsch and fine art since the beginning of postmodernism, the word "kitsch" still remains in common use to label anything seen as being in poor taste.

See also

Further reading

  • Adorno, Theodor (2001). The Culture Industry. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-25380-2
  • Braungart, Wolfgang (2002). ”Kitsch. Faszination und Herausforderung des Banalen und Trivialen”. Max Niemeyer Verlag. ISBN 3-484-32112-1/0083-4564.
  • Broch, Hermann (2003). Geist and Zeitgeist: The Spirit in an Unspiritual Age. Counterpoint Press. ISBN 1-58243-168-X
  • Cheetham, Mark A (2001). ”Kant, Art and Art History: moments of discipline”. Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    . ISBN 0-521-80018-8.
  • Dorfles, Gillo (1969, translated from the 1968 Italian version, Il Kitsch). Kitsch: The World of Bad Taste, Universe Books. LCCN 78-93950
  • Elias, Norbert. (1998[1935]) “The Kitsch Style and the Age of Kitsch,” in J. Goudsblom and S. Mennell (eds) The Norbert Elias Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Gelfert, Hans-Dieter (2000). ”Was ist Kitsch?”. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
    Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
    Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht is a scholarly publishing house based in Göttingen, Germany. It was founded in 1735 by Abraham Vandenhoeck in connection with the establishment of the Georg-August-Universität in the same city....

     in Göttingen. ISBN 3-525-34024-9.
  • Giesz, Ludwig (1971). Phänomenologie des Kitsches. 2. vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag. [Partially translated into English in Dorfles (1969)]. Reprint (1994): Ungekürzte Ausgabe. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag
    S. Fischer Verlag
    The German publishing house S. Fischer Verlag was founded in 1886 by Samuel Fischer in Berlin and is a leading German address for literary publications and fiction.Originally, it was renowned for naturalism literature...

    . ISBN 3-596-12034-9 / ISBN 978-3-596-12034-5.
  • Greenberg, Clement (1978). Art and Culture. Beacon Press
    Beacon Press
    Beacon Press is an American non-profit book publisher. Founded in 1854 by the American Unitarian Association, it is currently a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association.Beacon Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses....

    . ISBN 0-8070-6681-8
  • Karpfen, Fritz (1925). ”Kitsch. Eine Studie über die Entartung der Kunst”. Weltbund-Verlag, Hamburg.
  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar (1990). ”The Modern System of the Arts” (In ”Renaissance Thought and the Arts”). Princeton University Press
    Princeton University Press
    -Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.-External links:* * * * *...

    . ISBN 0-691-02010-1. (pbk.) / 0-691-07253-1.
  • Kulka, Tomas (1996). Kitsch and Art. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-01594-2
  • Kundera, Milan (1999). The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel. Harper Perennial
    Harper Perennial
    Harper Perennial is a paperback imprint of the publishing house HarperCollins Publishers. Harper Perennial has divisions located in New York, London, Toronto, and Sydney. The imprint is descended from the Perennial Library imprint founded by Harper & Row in 1964...

    . ISBN 0-06-093213-9
  • Moles, Abraham (nouvelle édition 1977). Psychologie du Kitsch: L’art du Bonheur, Denoël-Gonthier
  • Nerdrum, Odd (Editor) (2001). On Kitsch. Distributed Art Publishers
    Distributed Art Publishers
    D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. is an American company that distributes and publishes books on art, photography, design and aesthetic culture....

    . ISBN 82-489-0123-8
  • Olalquiaga, Celeste (2002). The Artificial Kingdom: On the Kitsch Experience. University of Minnesota
    University of Minnesota
    The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public research university located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, United States. It is the oldest and largest part of the University of Minnesota system and has the fourth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 52,557...

     ISBN 0-8166-4117-X
  • Reimann, Hans (1936). ”Das Buch vom Kitsch”. Piper Verlag
    Piper Verlag
    Piper Verlag is a German publisher based in Munich, printing both fiction and non-fiction works. It currently prints over 200 new paperback titles per year. Authors published by the company include Andreas von Bülow and Sara Paretsky. It owned by the Swedish media conglomerate Bonnier. It was...

    , München.
  • Richter, Gerd, (1972). Kitsch-Lexicon, Bertelsmann
    Bertelsmann
    Bertelsmann AG is a multinational media corporation founded in 1835, based in Gütersloh, Germany. The company operates in 63 countries and employs 102,983 workers , which makes it the most international media corporation in the world. In 2008 the company reported a €16.118 billion consolidated...

    . ISBN 3-570-03148-9
  • Shiner, Larry (2001). ”The Invention of Art”. University of Chicago Press
    University of Chicago Press
    The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals, including Critical Inquiry, and a wide array of...

    . ISBN 0-226-75342-5.
  • Thuller, Gabrielle (2006 and 2007). "Kunst und Kitsch. Wie erkenne ich?", ISBN 3-7630-2463-8. "Kitsch. Balsam für Herz und Seele", ISBN 978-3-7630-2493-3. (Both on Belser-Verlag, Stuttgart.)
  • Ward, Peter (1994). Kitsch in Sync: A Consumer’s Guide to Bad Taste, Plexus Publishing. ISBN 0-85965-152-5
  • "Kitsch. Texte und Theorien", (2007). Reclam
    Reclam
    thumb|A 1902 catalogReclam Verlag or just Reclam is a German publishing house, established in Leipzig in 1828 by Anton Philipp Reclam. It is known for its "little yellow books", in particular those of its "universal library" ....

    . ISBN 978-3-15-018476-9. (Includes classic texts of kitsch criticism from authors like Theodor Adorno, Ferdinand Avenarius, Edward Koelwel, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Hermann Broch, Richard Egenter, etc.).

External links

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