Do you have any object that you possess for its kitsch value ?

Is there any experience you have had that could be construed as pure kitsch ?

Have you any ideas for kitsch films ?

What role does kitsch play in politics ?

Think about kitsch in illustration and design......

What does kitsch mean ?

A valuable text could be Susan Sontag's "Notes on Camp", from Elizabeth Hardwick intro., A Susan Sontag Reader Penguin Harmondsworth, 1983, pp.105-119; while Camp may not be KITSCH, the following observations might be useful

Camp is a certain mode of aestheticism. It is a way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon...

To emphasise style is to slight content, or to introduce an attitude which is neutral with respect to content...

There are campy movies, clothes, furniture, popular songs, novels, people, buildings...

Random examples; Tiffany lamps; Beardsley drawings, King Kong , the original film; the novels of Ronald Firbank and Ivy Compton Burnett; Lynd Ward's woodcut novel God's Man .

Whole art forms can be saturated with camp classical ballet, opera, movies

There are things too good to be camp, camp - too good to be camp - Cocteau, Gide - Strauss Wagner

Nothing in Nature can be campy

Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style

Camp sees everything in terms of quotation marks, ie not woman but "woman"

The origin of Camp lies in the eighteenth century (Strawberry Hill, Versailles)

possible campy Old Masters, Pontormo, Caravaggio, Pergolesi,

One must distinguish between naive and deliberate

Gold Diggers of 1933 doesn't mean to be funny, Noel Coward does.

camp performances, ie Mae West reek of self-love

the canon of camp can change, age can lend detachment

camp is a glorification of character the unity, the force of the person, de Gaulle, Gaudi, de Mille.

camp and tragedy are antitheses, camp dethrones the serious

camp taste is a mode of enjoyment not judgment


1. Fantasia , the Beethoven Pastoral Symphony sequence, an embarrassing hymn of praise to a suspiciously Arayan physical ideal, with too many babies' botties for comfort. Disney was the only major Hollywood figure to welcome the German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl (Hitler's favourite, The Triumph of the Will, Olympiad etc) .

2. Signs of the Times, a monumental 4 documentary analysis of people's philosophies of decor and accessory; here the woman in love with roses and ornaments from the local market; the couple who pursue the historical style with tiles from B&H; and a mirror from MFI. Just when you thought taste is impossible to define....

3. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls , dir. Russ Meyer, 1970 an exploitation skin flick, the Carrie Nations, an all girl group, playing at a Senior Prom, the disapproving parents, the lingering looks, a middle aged American film director's image of what the teenagers might think is groovy music, before he gets around to the clinches and cleavages. "A film whose total idiotic, monstrous badness raises it to the pitch of near irresistible entertainment." Alexander Walker.

4. Barbie, a documentary in the Forty Minute series on the rise and rise of the Barbie doll, with the explanations from Marketing Folk, collectors, media analysts and other celebrants of the shallow.

5. 42nd Street, dir. Lloyd Bacon chor.. Busby Berkeley, 1933, "Shuffle off to Buffalo" the coy spectacle of the Honeymoon night on the Pullman sleeper with voyeuristic fruit eating chorus girls and menial porters.

6. Jeff Koons , the Puppy at Arolsen, the construction of a monumental floral puppy in the grounds of a German schloss, with critical responses to Koons success, Robert Hughes on the construction of the career; Koons ends with a statement as to how much he wants the leading role.

7. Merbabies , a Disney Silly Symphony with again an excess of teeny buttocks and swelling bubbly shapes.

8. Li'l Abner And last.....the Cornpone day meeting and celebration from Li'l Abner, Norman Panama and Melvyn Frank 1959, Stubby Kaye ("Don't whap that child") explains all to a dumb child in Al Kapp's Dogpatch, an invented settlement set in deepest America and originally a strip comic, here filmed with utter disregard for reality; see the wonderful blue trees, and Daisy Mae's pin-up dresses.