A pitch for kitsch

I’ve been reading this book lately, in researching my Jesus portrait series.

A Profound Weakness: Christians & Kitsch
by Betty Spackman


Even though I’m only about half way through, I felt that I would give it a pitch.

It’s pretty fantastic.

What I like is that she really embraces the concept of kitsch instead of taking a haughty perspective on it. She’s interested in the positive potential of kitsch images as well as the implications of a culture that creates and buys such huge quantities of cheap crap.

I’m totally implicated here. Note the “wall of Jesus” in our apartment.


The “Sacred Heart of Jesus” below is a special prize.  Whey you pass by it, it changes from a scene with an angel and two running children into Jesus opening up his chest (out of wich the children sometimes appear to be running).


This one lights up.

It’s from a funeral home.


I think my personal fascination with this stuff is, as I said in the last post, partly misguided nostalgia. I grew up with the sappiest bulletin covers and Warner Sallman knock-offs America was printing. It’s also that kitsch has become, for me, a way of introducing a conversation about Christianity and my own experience of it through visual art.

Either way, Spackman nails it right just about every time.

For another take on Christianity and kitsch, may I refer you to my ever-eloquent wife’s blog.




Filed under religious propaganda, The Art World

3 responses to “A pitch for kitsch

  1. Wesley Dumont

    embracing kitsch is just another haughty expression- it’s just haughtier than thou.

  2. waynestead

    I don’t think she is here. I probably didn’t explain it very well, but in the early chapters of the book she goes through her thought process of how to deal with kitsch. From irony to snobbery to positive embracing of it.

  3. Beth

    Being too good for kitsch is the ultimate snobbery.

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