The original meaning of the word “Kitsch” is actually a pejorative description for a special kind of art, without any intellectual value. But philosophers and artists are arguing about the meaning of the word for ages.
In general, you can describe everything, what counts as mass cultural art that gives you an illusion of a perfect world, suggesting a wrong security as Kitsch. A classic example is the drawing of the roaring deer, which was really popular in the 19th and 20th century.
The German philosopher and sociologist Theodor W. Adoro has described Kitsch as “stupid and consoling”. Meant is the art, which shows us a sophisticated world without conflicts and which gives us a good and peaceful feeling when we look at it. These can be, for example, religious, patriotic, nostalgic, cute or sentimental.
Every artist should think about their artwork and ask himself if it could be seen as Kitsch and why. It was nothing bad as long as the artist was aware of it. Many artists from the post modernism were proud to create Kitsch. They made it on purpose and Kitsch became a cult object. But Kitsch can easily become something negative especially when the artist is not aware of it. It is hard to not cross the line of kitsch sometimes. Not what but how you draw it is important. You can draw almost everything without becoming Kitsch.
In general, art should form, build and reflect the society it was created in. But of course, not everything should distance from Kitsch. Actually, we sometimes need Kitsch to get away from the reality and the world we live in. There is a reason for the popularity of kitsch. We all consume it. Many books on our shelves are not from Goethe or Schiller. Most of us are not always and only listening to Mozart´s or Bach´s music. We all have fantasy movies at home. There are times we just need books, movies, and music without a deeper meaning, without intellectual conflicts just something to relax and chill. We want to be entertained every now and then. But the most important question here is when the moment has come that the work stops to be art.
Image: Christian Kröner – Hirschkampf