Art or Kitsch?

Now really, is this art or kitsch? While this photo was meant to be part of street art in Antwerp, I really felt this needed an own entry because I cannot figure out for the life of me, how I feel about this.

Art or Kitsch?
Art or kitsch?

These chairs show the classic art works

Café Terrace at Night by Vincent van Gogh

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt and

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Is it, that art ceases to be art by cheap reproduction and repetition?

Or is it the pure choice of medium? Say chairs, umbrellas or notebooks.

By placing your behind on the art, how do you actually interact with the work?

Can you reduce classic paintings to their purely decorative aspect?

kitsch or art? scraves with painting motifs
Scarf or art?

How do you accessorize an artsy scarf?

So please help me out here. What do you think? Is this art or kitsch?

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41 thoughts on “Art or Kitsch?

  1. Not art. Does that make it kitsch? I guess I don’t see the harm in re-purposing well known images onto everyday items. In some ways it gives the piece better exposure. Some people would never see the original painting but having seen it’s reproduction, maybe they’d seek it out. I don’t like the chairs myself & the scarves look sad. But I have seen other, well made silk scarves which replicated pieces of art that I’d be happy to wear.

    1. It is a good question! Because it is not art, may not make it kitsch automatically … I really need to think about that one 😉

  2. I don’t have an answer, but I wonder if when a single work of art gets turned into something that can appear on notebook covers and beach chairs we don’t, in some way, stop seeing it. But that’s a question, not something I’m sure is true.

    1. Maybe in a way it is very democratic. The canon of art that is well-loved enough to actually make it on an umbrella, notebook …

  3. For me these examples are more kitsch than art. I think the reproduction aspect is a good point there. Art should be able to stand for itself, without the need of fusioning its motive with another item. And also mass production makes such items less artsy in my eyes and more kitschy. I understand your struggle for a categorisation here. From my feeling, the chairs and the scarfs are definitely kitsch, though. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I do struggle with a few more. The feedback on this post was great so maybe I’ll put up more art or kitsch questions?!?

    1. I’ve heard you get Trump toilet paper these days … Luckily we didn’t have time to go into the shop, probably better for my wallet that way 😉

    1. Unfortunately the artists are not around anymore to ask them how they feel about it … Just think about van Gogh who hardly ever sold a painting?!?

  4. Kitsch riffing on art? I love the chairs and would prefer to display them than sit. The scarves are so cool and I would def wear them. Do things like this trash the ideals of the original art and artists they copy (and make profit from)? Maybe not so much, as that art is already established and understood. It’s a bit like seeing your favourite band’s album cover on a bag, coffee mug, or drinks coasters – I wouldn’t buy them as such, but don’t mind being reminded of musical greatness by them.

    1. Comparing it to favorite record covers is a good point! It’s like the all time favorite Joy Devision T-Shirt … How strange is it though you get GunsRoses T-Shirts at H&M these days? And people wearing them that don’t know the music? Maybe it’s all in transition? If it wasn’t so popular, it wouldn’t make it on chairs and merch

      1. You’re right about the T-shirts in H&M… I got Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Motorhead all for 30 euros, and no qualms about wearing them as I wore the original T-shirts back in the day and still have the records. It did seem funny though seeing all those rock shirts hanging on the shop racks – like walking back in time. Shame I didn’t see the Joy Division though…

  5. I’d think the scarves would be kind of fun to wear with all the colors. I’m not sure what to think about the chairs. I like the concept and really they are pretty cool. Personally, I would feel like I was being disrespectful by sitting in them even knowing it’s a copy.

    1. Thank you, I still not know how to feel about all this. But all the comments were a lot more positive than I though. Fascinating 😉

  6. They are more like decorative art chairs aren’t they? You’d be afraid to keep sitting on them as then the art would fade! They look good outside the shop. Would be great in a show apartment or show house or something. Not so much for every day use! 🙂

    1. Interesting, so they might not be really for use … I am so happy we were in a hurry and actually didn’t make it in to that shop. It was like a colorful heaven full of odd bits and pieces …

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