Kitsch noun

something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.


In case you can't see, they say from the top down, "Bread, Cheese, Stinky" (an onion).

Is this kitsch?  Yes I think it is.  It’s cute.   I grew up with this in my mother’s kitchen, and now it’s in mine.  Please ignore the pukey green wall.  I have been here since 2002 and haven’t mustered the energy to paint the world’s ugliest kitchen.

Most people think of kitsch as bad art, with a sentimental element.  The word comes from the German kitschen, or to throw together, referring to a work of art.  Decorative objects you would find in your grammy’s house, like the big-eyed puppy and kid portraits so popular in the 1960s, is kitsch.


Ahh God, make it stooooppp...

If you saw the movie The Goonies, you might remember the David statue on the coffee table, the one that suffered an unfortunate amputation and subsequent reattachment.  That too, is kitsch.

Some of this stuff is collectible in a big way.  A few years back there was a big move toward vintage decorating, and people were snapping up paint-by-number pictures from flea markets and garage sales and actually displaying them in their homes.  I remember these things, did quite a few myself.  I really don’t think they were good enough for THAT.

I don’t really know what I wanted to say about kitsch.  either you love it, or you can’t stand it.  I find myself defending it because of the Bread/Cheese/Stinky apple things.  It’s not really art, but it makes us think about it.  We look at it and desire to feast our starving eyes on real art, like this:

Woman in Black at the Opera (1878) Mary Cassatt

I love this painting.  Cassatt was a female Impressionist painter, in a world where women did not have art careers and were not encouraged to leave the house.  Many of her paintings are of women and children, domestic scenes, and genteel people.  I was privileged to see her painting The Boating Party in person at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.  No one can understand what it means to stand before an actual painting by your favorite artist until they experience it.

The best part of this picture is the man in the background.  As the lady looks at the opera, he is looking at her.  Hee hee.

Anybody have anything in their house that is kitsch?  Send me a picture of it; I’ll make a kitsch gallery from the best examples.  Or the ones that make me laugh the hardest.

2 thoughts on “Kitsch

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