Kitsch

DEFINITION

Artifacts that are regarded as unsophisticated attempts at art,the term includes such items as lamps in the shape of luminous fish, Elvis Presley paintings on velvet, and salt and pepper shakers resembling cacti. The word is derived from the German verb "verkitschen", meaning in English 'to make cheap'. Exemplifying Kitsch objects are a result of the industrial age where items, including so-called art, can be made quickly and cheaply. "The New York Times" critic Clement Greenberg referred to "Kitsch" as "rear-guard" art---"the epitome of all that is spurious in the life of our time". The advent of Pop Art with Andy Warhol and his signature soup cans made the definition of Kitsch less clear. One of the goals of many modernist artists is to obscure the differences between low and high art. Work of Kenny Scharf and Julie Wachtel are examples of 'sophisticated' Kitsch artists. Source: Robert Atkins, "Art Speak"

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