Kitsch, also called cheesiness or tackiness, is art or other objects
that, generally speaking, appeal to popular rather than "high art"
tastes. Such objects are sometimes appreciated in a knowingly ironic or
humorous way. The word was first applied to artwork that was a response
to certain divisions of 19th-century art with aesthetics that favored
what later art critics would consider to be exaggerated sentimentality
and melodrama. Hence, 'kitsch art' is closely associated with 'sentimental
art'. Kitsch is also related to the concept of camp, because of its
humorous and ironic nature.
Kitsch art may often contain palatable, pleasant and romantic themes and
visuals that few would find disagreeable, shocking or otherwise
objectionable; it generally attempts to appeal to the human condition
and its natural standards of beauty on a superficial level. It may also
be quaint or "quirky" without being controversial.
To brand visual art as "kitsch" is generally (but not exclusively)
pejorative, as it implies that the work in question is gaudy, or that it
serves a solely ornamental and decorative purpose rather than amounting
to a work of what may be seen as true artistic merit. However, art
deemed kitsch may be enjoyed in an entirely positive and sincere manner.
The term is also sometimes applied to music or literature, or indeed any