I have often used elements of kitsch within my work, the gaudy and the tack just seem to seek me out and say “here put this glittery deer in your work it will totally improve it!”. But i feel that if i am going to continue to use elements and objects so profoundly recognized as kitsch, then i should fully understand what i am committing myself too. In order to do this i have purchased the bible of kitsch as i like to call it-
It explains in depth the history of kitsch culture- mass produced culture and how it has infiltrated every aspect of life, without most even noticing it enough to disparage it for what it really is. Kitsch has infiltrated the home and the high street, and every city in the world now has characteristics in one way or another- similar to the kitsch and gaudy mecca Las Vegas.
whether it is liked or hated, the prospect of kitsch invading every corner of the world has been on the cards since the 1960’s, thanks to America’s globalized ideas of mass produced culture and “privileged role in turning the world plastic”. This book has alot of interesting insights into kitsch, and it has a pretty even mix of slating its characteristics and loving them. A bit like marmite really, a person will either love it or hate but cannot escape it because its everywhere. For example on the highstreet in Britain- here are some examples of kitsch that are apparently chic, even though they posses all factors of kitsch culture such as mass produced, camp and the possibility of making someone excited/ nauseous or both.
- le cresuet heart shaped kitchenware
- bacon flavoured toothpaste ( disgusting no matter what)
- designer garden gnomes
- plastic jewellery
- decorative items featuring puppies or kittens ( think puppy vase but from BHS)
- cupcake aprons and tea towels
- replica 1950’s espresso makers
- carry on camping picnic set
- flamingo swizzle sticks for bbqs
- rhino coat hooks ( in habitat- so not cheap!)
The book goes on to discuss the figure of “kitsch man” a cultural degenerate with politically dubious taste. I am currently 2 chapters into the book, and really enjoying it and i think if my work involves kitsch in the future i can back it with a long standing history of social non acceptance/ yet really accepted because you don’t always notice it.