Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Kitschy, kitschy, cool?

Uh, NO.
Nine out of ten times kitsch is simply the last refuge of the dull, desperate to appear interesting.

This is in direct opposition to Peter Ward's Kitsck in sync, which asserts that kitsch is the style-setter's anti-style. In my experience this has only ever been true with a few individuals who were either artists, or, people who viewed themselves as living works of art.

Chinese Girl, by Vladimir Tretchikoff

Vladimir Tretchikoff refused to allow his Chinese Girl to adorn the cover of Ward's book. His work, he maintained, was symbolic realism. And rightly so. After all, Tretchikoff could not be held responsible for his audience's rather limited frame of reference. Instead, Ward chose the work of the French artistic team of Pierre et Gilles for the cover as they cited Tretchikoff as an influence. Which, quite frankly, I do not see.

Pierre et Gilles, Medusa

Neither, Chinese Girl nor Medusa is particularly kitsch. What really separates and further defines the two works is their availability. The work of Pierre et Gilles is produced in the same manner as any fine art photograph and is therefore far less accessible. Tretchikoff' s work on the other hand, as everyone knows, was readily available as inexpensive mass produced reproductions. This, incidentally, made him the most commercially successful artist after Picasso, but gained him none of the aclaim.

Unfortunately many contemporary designers have also opted to travel down this mass produced route for their highly derivative products. Two in particular immediately spring to mind. Time alone will tell. Given the slew of offerings of their goods on ebay, we shan't need to wait long.

Now playing: Bronski Beat - Junk
via FoxyTunes


Pigtown-Design said...

I am in Baltimore, we know from bad taste, after all, our style god is John Waters!

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Hi fairfax - love John Waters. He features well in this book, as you can imagine.

Pigtown-Design said...

Ohhh I am SO sure he does! His mother and mine went to Catholic prep school together!

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Those poor Sisters! Quel hoot.

Paul Pincus said...

I can't help it...I adore Pierre et Gilles!

Bronski Beat - Junk ; )


the House of Beauty and Culture said...

PP - I too, love Pierre et Gilles. Don't really think of their work as kitsch. Kitsch is oft too readily used to describe something by those who either do not understand or are to lazy to try.