Kitsch

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Kitsch (English pronunciation: /ˈkɪtʃ/, loanword from German) is a form of art that is considered an inferior, tasteless 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 icons[1] while making cheap mass-produced 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 often is associated with the term.

The term 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.[2] 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.[3]

The concept of kitsch is applied to artwork that was a response to the 19th century art with aesthetics that convey exaggerated sentimentality and melodrama, hence, kitsch art is closely associated with sentimental art.

Contents

Etymology

The etymology is uncertain.

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[4] In Das Buch vom Kitsch (The Book of Kitsch), Hans Reimann 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.

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