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Kitsch

Cindy Sherman
Murder Mystery , 1976
3 gelatin silver print cutouts mounted on board
Each: 54.6 x 41.9 cm (21.5 x 16.5 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Kitsch refers to art that is often considered to be in poor taste because of its sentimentality, garishness, or cliches. Although it can refer to various art forms, kitsch is most commonly associated with mass-produced objects and images intended to appeal to popular tastes. Contemporary fine artists such as Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, and Cindy Sherman have been accused of creating kitsch in their work. Koons creates sculptures of everyday objects rendered in brightly colored, highly polished materials, while Murakami's work often features cartoonish imagery and references to Japanese popular culture. Sherman uses photography to create self-portraits and other images that mimic popular media, such as fashion photography and advertising. These artists, among others, have helped to redefine the boundaries between "high" and "low" culture, highlighting the interplay between consumer culture and fine art.

Despite the influence and success of these artists, critics argue that their work lacks deeper meaning or social critique and appeals only to a superficial, consumerist mindset. Others contend that kitsch can be a valuable and legitimate form of artistic expression and that it is unfairly maligned by critics who adhere to narrow definitions of "good" art. Ultimately, whether a work of art qualifies as kitsch will depend on the viewer's individual tastes and values, and the definition of the term remains subjective and contested.

Related categories

Sculpture

Photography

Self-Portrait

Everyday Objects

Pop Art

(Inspired by) Popular Culture

Popular Culture Images

Consumerism

Found Objects

Surrounding Environment

Contemporary Japanese Art

Cartoonish/Fictitious Characters

Blurring Boundaries

Digital Print

Popular Culture Icons

Dada