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The Romanian Kitsch Museum in Bucharest

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A glass fish, which was customary to be places on the old fashioned TV set, and was also a very popular gift. Unfortunately. Dracula and several old newspapers, pieces of ancient furniture (of no real artistic or collectible value) and the usual china trinkets that you could have found, not long ago, in many Romanian homes.

Produced in mass quantitiesand not very attractive for a discerning eye, they are among the finest definitions of kitsch. Wall carpets - which were amazingly popular in the past and could be bought for rather steep prices - and ugly clothes, weird decorations and the crocheted doilies, plastic crosses and shockingly bad paintings. Or the likes. All in all about 200 "works of art", reunited in the permanent exhibition of the latest museum opened in Bucharest and dedicated to the one and seemingly all mighty kitsch. All the work of one Cristian Lica, the owner of the exhibits and the one who had the idea of dedicating a rather large space to the "Romanian kitsch".

For many a visit to this new museum has a certain degree of nostalgia, as those who have lived through the final years of the Communist regime and the wild and (for a while) enthusiastic transition times of the 90s will surely recognise several pieces and knick-knacks. For surely their neighbours, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and so on had at least a few of them, as it was "fashionable" and "elegant" to decorate your home with the likes of these.

Of course, like any other similar place, the Kitsch Museum of Bucharest has several sections for it's "works of art", ranging from Dracula (how could he be absent) to Communist Kitsch, Religious Kitsch (some of the exhibits here are both ridiculous and shocking), one dedicated to kitsch in interior design - which became almost mandatory especially in the 80s and 90s - and so on. You could have a bowl of artificial plastic fruits or some plastic flowers, stuffed animals and birds (it was quite a fashion), the horrific wall carpets, the small or large china statuetes and miniatures, and the list, as the visitor can discover by himself, goes on and on. And the owner-curator also had the inspiration of making the place sort of a museum-boutique: you see, "admire" and at least smile looking at the exhibits, and you can also make your own. If you feel the need or inspiration.

This is not a lesson about kitsch, some pretentious presentation about this phenomenon, it doesn't offer definitios, explanations, interpretations. Just puts together some memorable examples and lets you draw your own conclusions. Surely, it is a place that is amusing, a little sad, somewhat creepy when you think of what was considered to be nice enough to collect or decorate your home, but above all it is a museum you could spend some time and be entertained. And if you are a courageous artist you could exhibit here. The only catch? Your creation better be a good example of kitsch.

photo: kitschmuseum.ro
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