Naive/primitive/folk art v. fashionista art
Kitsch is not technically inept art; kitsch is unethical art, which can be technically adept. (Hermann Broch, paraphrase)
Consider the above example of naive/primitive/folk art, and the below example of fashionista art.
In the naive art painting, we see a lady playing a piano for an audience of small birds. Birds make music: they twitter and tweet (not in a social networking app, of course). The naive painting is art about art appreciation, and healthy human communicating with healthy nature. Naive persons' hope to live in the peaceable kingdom, to be let back into Eden.... (Of course, primitive/folk art can be kitsch, e.g.: when it is made to sell to tourists and collectors for money, and not for authentic ethnic purpose → which is why it cannot really be naive because it is [perhaps naively] aware of being exploitive.)
Consider the fashionista painting or print or reproduction of a print (below right), which re-presents a can of condensed commercial soup. So what? It is just commercialism about commercialism. But it is not, so far as I can see, a critique of commercialism → It's just more commercialism. No soul. No emotion. Not a commentary on the misfortune of meaninglessness. Just more stuff with very little meaning. Does it even encourage persons to eat, to persist metabolism? [Not sure about this.] It's just a high-priced bauble in an economic bubble.
All the artist (below left) needs is a big bubblegum bubble burst on his face to hide his big open empty mouth-hole. War-hole. Nobody made Mr. Warhol show this picture to anybody: he or she or other or it must be proud to look like an amented head, like the blank windows in Philip Johnson's amoral Chippendale skyscraper (AT&T/Sony Building, New York City).
Is that a slug in his mouth? Give this guy an Agpar test and see if he's a stillbirth! The amented head makes Homer Simpson look good, and not just like a cartoon figure. It's scary, too: it looks like the gaping mouth of a moray eel, or maybe he forgot to put in his dentures?
Another kind of such kitsch art would be a life-size still life painting of a swim and tennis club poolside table with a cocktail on it with a little Made in China toothpick and paper umbrella sticking out of its Maraschino cherry. This art explicitly encourages persons to waste their days lounging poolside, absorbing ultraviolet radiation. "Every work of art is a wish fulfillment" (Arnold Hauser) -- it is clear what such a fashionista's wish for living to fufill is.
If the fashionista artist wants to go the whole way, following Robert Venturi's example in architecture, if the artist arts Campbell's soup cans, the artist will make some slight modification to the soup can, which modification only the postmodern artists will know about. Like maybe spell Campbell's "Campbells" by red-painting over the apostrophe → It will take Michelangelo level genius to think up that! This will titillate all the postmodernist artists about their artistic cleverness and also as to how stupid their customers are to not notice anything (especially, obviously, not noticing they are being "taken"). Merry! Merry!
"...[H]er youth (as Greta Gustafsson) in Stockholm and her cultivation by a director who 'had been looking for a beautiful girl whom he could completely mold.' Upon her arrival in Hollywood in 1925, she did not work her way up; as soon as M-G-M found her, the studio decided she would be their next leading lady. 'Greta Garbo --- Perfection!' blared their publicity campaign.'She was... "bewildered, unsophisticated," a young woman "suddenly transported to Oz."' We hear from fans like Katharine Hepburn, who said [Greta] Garbo had 'a real, real gift for movie acting.... Photographically she had something that nobody else had. That's what made her. You don't become that famous for no reason.'" Sounds like Andy the War hole, doesn't it? "And from non-fans like Marlene Dietrich: 'She is the kind of person who counts every cube of sugar to make sure the maid isn't stealing, or eating too well.'" ("Greta Garbo: The Most Enigmatic Movie Star", NYT, +2021.12.03, Mark Harris) A real life Barbie Doll? Apparently her most memorable line was: "I want to be alone", in "The Grand Hotel" (1932). Please click here for a picture of this [fill in the blank] from "The Mysterious Lady"' (1928). What mystery? PR? Could she pass a Turing Test, or was she a Ms. Dialtone ☏? String her up like Clara Petacci!
"The Grand Hotel" was 1932. "Nosferatu" was 1922. "Greed" and "The Battleship Potemkin" 1925. " Napoleon" 1929. You've come a long way, baby, to get where you've got to today. You've got your own cigarette now, baby, you've come a long, long way! ("Virginia Slims" ad, 1968). America has been running on empty, running around for a long, long time. Not everything that came out of Hollywood was kitsch, just most of it was, like most of America, on "The good ship lollipop" (1934)....