kitsch [Ger., = trash], term most frequently applied since the early 20th cent. to works considered pretentious and tasteless. Exploitative commercial objects such as Mona Lisa scarves and abominable plaster reproductions of sculptural masterpieces are described as kitsch, as are works that claim artistic value but are weak, cheap, or sentimental. A museum of kitsch was opened in Stuttgart.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.