Friday, January 30, 2009

art show

I am having an art show march 13th in NYC at 632 on hudson in the west village. All are welcome but please rsvp me at

Due to time constraints, I may ask some of my collectors to borrow some pieces for display (not sale) in the show..please contact me about both matters.

I am having the show with this artist

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I found this in my pocket...not sure what it means or why it was in my pocket. I think whiskey was involved.

how to be a great artist

if you would like to be a great artist and be famous like gardega the first thing you should do is study cezanne. You should read every book you can about cezanne and study his paintings and then when you realize that he is the visual equivalent of a ponzi scheme and that he is the Bernie madoff of art then you can progress confidently towards your dreams.


I took this photo with my cell phone in an old brooklyn bar...this man is looking out the window of despair, waiting for spring.


I got up at 4AM to go running and then I decided to make lasagna. I am not sure why but when I get an idea in my head there is no stopping alex. I learned long ago to sit back and let myself go and "just watch." My stubbornness as a child was legendary and my parents could tell many a tale. Some sent me an email about jackson Pollocks birthday. He was not an artist and my lasagna will look better than his wretched scribbles.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I think so you dont have to

It came out today that HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) contains mercury...Mercury is used in the process of making HFCS and is also believed to be responsible for the rise in autism. This plant in japan was involved in such process and released large amounts of mercury as waste about this famous case from japan.

Minamata disease (水俣病 Minamata-byō?), sometimes referred to as Chisso-Minamata disease (チッソ水俣病 Chisso-Minamata-byō?), is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. Symptoms include ataxia, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases, insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. A congenital form of the disease can also affect foetuses in the womb.

Minamata disease was first discovered in Minamata city in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan in 1956. It was caused by the release of methyl mercury in the industrial wastewater from the Chisso Corporation's chemical factory, which continued from 1932 to 1968. This highly toxic chemical bioaccumulated in shellfish and fish in Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea, which when eaten by the local populace resulted in mercury poisoning. While cat, dog, pig and human deaths continued over more than 30 years, the government and company did little to prevent the pollution.

As of March 2001, 2,265 victims had been officially recognised (1,784 of whom had died)[1] and over 10,000 had received financial compensation from Chisso.[2] Lawsuits and claims for compensation continue to this day.

A second outbreak of Minamata disease occurred in Niigata Prefecture in 1965. Both the original Minamata disease and Niigata Minamata disease are considered two of the Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan.

in progress

Here is the second in my lost souls series. unfinished.

oil on canvas. 18 x 24

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

back to work

Okay, I am done being an art sauce mogul--- I am back to my easel. I have an art show in march and much work to do...Here is my latest book cover. The green I used is called sarcastic green which is different than the pale green of envy (which I do not own)..

original for sale..

Monday, January 26, 2009



Lost Souls arrived today. To say my wife and I are thrilled is an understatement. I'm taking it for framing this week. We absolutely love it, thank you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

drawing for sale

Here is a study for a large painting I am working on. It is watercolor and oil on a paprika base tone. On ebay today.

two views of a woman 11 x 14


I have decided to write the memoirs of my childhood as an artist. I am calling it The Grasshopper Child, a title I ripped from dali. I was obsessed with grasshoppers as a child (as was dali) and the memoir touches on my spiritual connection to the great surrealist and surrealism and art in general.

Friday, January 23, 2009

a nation of sheep

I am re-reading this book. It is one of the most important books in the last ten years. I will give anyone who buys it and reads a free drawing. It is crucial that Americans wake up.

great artist


Okay...back to making art. ...short diversion into art sauce and now I can paint and draw again. Have to go to brooklyn then I update with new art tonight..

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

150 million dollar party while the country is on the ledge of financial doom...People wonder why I hate Washington, the left and the right. I pledge my service to no one except the spirit of freedom of thought and independence. On a positive note-- I heard Oprah is picking up the tab.---joke

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here is what I predict will happen today..

Obama will stop mid-speech and then proceed to walk across the water of the lincoln memorial and the statue of abe lincoln will stand and greet him and then Obama and Lincoln will produce the miracle of loaves and fishes...After the honeymoon of the New Messiah is over and the wine turns back into water it will be politics as usual in washington and the lobbyists will control the president just like they did the last fool.

update by alex

I am almost caught up wth my crazy art-sauce project..did not expect to sell about 500 bottles of hot sauce I created as an art statement about the fleecing of Americans. Cant wait to start painting again!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

cell phone photos

modern art

Here is a new work BY GARDEGA:

5 x 5 foot on canvas


A perfectly good and classical ocean destroyed by the foul and dirty hand of modern art who is not unlike a Hollywood whore on her last legs no one loves anymore. She needs a savior to drive a stake through the foul heart of modernism and to bring painting back to the lofty planes of the Renaissance"
The ship hath been suddenly becalmed.
Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
'Twas sad as sad could be ;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea !

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion ;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

And the Albatross begins to be avenged.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink ;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot : O Christ !
That ever this should be !
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night ;
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white.

this is my longest titled painting and my worst painting both of which were intentional acts...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

great song

words of the day

Too many hands on my time
Too many feelings ---
Too many things on my mind
When I leave I dont know
What Im hoping to find
When I leave I dont know
What Im leaving behind...N.Peart

Friday, January 16, 2009

R.I.P.---andrew wyeth



Sorry for my lack of attention to this blog, I have unintentionally gained worldwide attention for my Bernie in Hell art-sauce and have been buried in work...My side projects have side projects...I am glad to say I am almost caught up and can start painting again. I get wiggy when I haven't painted in a while. I am excited that I have sold over 500 bottles of my hotsauce/ statement. Now comes the joy of shipping--next week. Life is surreal and I like it that way...

I have offered the original painting for sale that started it all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

comments on nypost website about my creation

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shopgirl wrote:
1/12/2009 4:45 AM EST
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sandnyc wrote:
I cannot believe people actually can joke about this case , its a total embarassment that a Crimanal Millionare is being celebrate for his acts.
1/10/2009 9:35 PM EST
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Jimmyrock wrote:
I think this is funny as heck! This guy Madoff ripped off a lot of people for a heck of a lot of money. This is right up there with things like Bundie Fries. And once again if you don't like the price don't pay it!
1/10/2009 9:35 PM EST
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Anonymous133 wrote:
(∩_∩)(∩_∩)(∩_∩)You'll find the best selection of hot babes, sexy singles, and beautiful dating right at the exclusive interracial dating community,
Come in and stay a while. Post a message, a pic of yourself and check out the hot photo galleries. You are guaranteed to find someone you like here.(∩_∩)(∩_∩)(∩_∩)
1/10/2009 8:44 PM EST
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hoolybell wrote:
Lighten up people....Its just a novelity bottle of hot sauce. I don't blame the hot sauce guy whatsoever for trying to make a buck. Those who scoff at $10 for a bottle of hot sauce won't and shouldn't buy it! And to the "old school woman" who compared the hot sauce guy to bernie....are you kidding me????? No comparison...think about it!!!
1/10/2009 3:38 PM EST
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TimeOut2Think wrote:

everyone is a jacka$$.
1/10/2009 2:33 PM EST
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Easy, Old School Woman - no one is twisting anyone's arm to pay $10 for a bottle of the sauce. Take it or leave it. It's the American way. Kudos to the guy's sense of humor and entrepreneurial spirit.
1/10/2009 1:53 PM EST
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hydroman wrote:
bernie for prez
1/10/2009 12:58 PM EST
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mrs k wrote:
@ Old School Woman::: that's got to be the dumbest comment of all time.

you should change your screen name to "NO school woman".
1/10/2009 11:16 AM EST
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This guy is as bad as Bernie. Ten dollars for a bottle of hot sauce! PLEASE! He is ripping off the consumer as bad as Bernie. A limited edition my A_ _! This is so people will buy it up. As long as there are requests he will keep selling. If he is just trying to make a statement then he should be giving the bottles away for free or for at least a reasonable price. He is trying to make quick money for himself just like Bernie.
1/10/2009 8:34 AM EST

alex update

I have been buried to my eyeballs. I am sorry I Have not up dated with new art. I woke up one day and decided to make hot sauce and it turned into an international media event. I did not expect this to happen and I am not complaining. Most parents have interventions for kids who have drinking or drug problems, when I was growing up my parents and family tried to intervene and get me to take ADD medication. My brain spins like a top from concept to concept idea to idea. I like my ADD and getting me to do something I dont want to is about as easy as walking on water (backwards.) I was watching TV and got pissed off at Madoff. What he did is unthinkable and it is not any different than what many people (corporate and otherwise) have been doing to the american people. This transcends race, religion , color and creed-- this was just wrong. I have done five radio interviews and have another at 8 am in three hours..I have done fox business news and cnn had medeliver them sauce yesterday. It is all surreal and I need to start painting again. I cant beleive I had an idea over my eggs that went international and I am glad I have ADD.

Friday, January 9, 2009

in order to become an artist I used an f15 lense at 1/25 on half exposure and then doubled it on the tripod of nausea without the legs of sartre, camus or pet photgraphy and used the filter #6 of genius the whole time worried about technique and not a hoot for soul or spirit....woo hoo

the three things alex fears most.

1) bad art: i.e. modern, skilless, minimalistic tripe ( I prefer the art of the past, the musty technical- kitsch of museums and dead people)

2) anonymity: not a four letter word but it should be

3) groupthink: consensus thinking (which has become epidemic) and is the antitheses of progress.

flesh tones---by gardega

colors needed.

naples yellow extra (old holland)

alizarin crimson

Paprika bold extra genius

yellow ochre

mars black

ultramarine blue

linseed oil for glazing...

daily update

I have to finish two book covers, a six foot painting, 7 narrative book illustrations and a flower of life glass sculpture. I will try to be logical and progress in a sensible order but that doesnt really sound like me so I will probably just work on whats in front of me like a myopic monkey. I will post my progress as I make it..

words of the day--alexander the great

my son ask for thyself another
Kingdom for that wich I leave
Is too small for thee
(king philip of macedonia - 339 b.c.)

Near to the east
In a part of ancient greece
In an ancient land called macedonia
Was born a son
To philip of macedon
The legend his name was alexander

At the age of nineteen
He became the macedon king
And he swore to free all of asia minor
By the aegian sea
In 334 b.c.
He utterly beat the armies of persia

Alexander the great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the great
Became a legend mongst mortal men

King darius the third
Defeated fled persia
The scythians fell by the river of jaxartes
Then egypt fell to the macedon king as well
And he founded the city called alexandria

By the tigris river
He met king darius again
And crushed him again at the battle of arbela
Entering babylon
And susa treasures he found
Took persepolis the capital of persia

Alexander the great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the great
Became a God mongst mortal men

A phrygian king had bound a chariot yoke
And alexander cut the gordian knot
And the legend said that who untied the knot
He would become the master of asia

Helonism he spread far and wide
The macedonian learned mind
Their culture was a western way of life
He paved the way for christianity

Marching on marching on

The battle weary marching side by side
Alexanders army line by line
They wouldnt follow him to india
Tired of the combat, pain and the glory

Alexander the great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the great
He died of fever in babylon

quote of the day

There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.

Brendan Behan quotes


there is four hours left on my ebay auction.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

daily sunspot

there are no sunspots today, we are at a solar minimum.

a feast of great works

howard pyle--he was wyeths teacher and a great artist.
thomas moran a master of color and landscape.
albert ryder--one of the great american originals
Mr. Parrish---the entire group of abstract expressionists are not worth one fig on the tree of his genius.
dulac--"just" an illustrator? I think not.

comment about my art...

People often ask me if I am "serious" with some of the things I choose to paint... I tell them it is not necessary for them to know if I am serious to understand or appreciate my art, just as it is not important for me to know if I am serious to produce my art.

In some sense I am a surrealist at least as much as I do not censor or delete any ideas that come to my head. I simply follow my thoughts like a dog follows its owner. If I was to step back and analyze my ideas or process them like chicken for a desired effect I would be a less honest artist. Honesty and drawing are the cornerstones of art. Modern art cares little for either of these.

first sketch of Rachael.

Here is my first sketch of Rachael. It is not supposed to look like anyone at this point as I care only about mood and color and feeling.. Before you eat you have to open your mouth-- everything has an order (even in my brain.) This is a watercolor and pencil on paper with a paprika wash for a mid-tone.

all my progress sketches are for sale...I only sell to people who promise to frame them and send me photos...this piece is 11 x 14. email me to purchase.

my art comes with an irony free guarantee.

Alex on Pop Art

I was never a big fan of pop art. The reason I was never a fan of it was that there was no technique. It was the visual equivalent of confectionary sugar, it tastes good but there are no nutrients for the soul. It looks good on modern white walls and the sterile environments of modern life. I would have more respect for pop art if there less appropriation (stealing of images from other sources.) I cannot knock Andy Warhol as he had his moments but I prefer the old musty masters and I am only at home in old museums. I like old parchments and yellowed paper.

I do however have moments when I dip my toe into pop art and that is when I am trying to express an idea that is best suited through pop art. Here is my latest work that uses pop art.
I was watching an old man on TV one night who lost all his money to Bernie Madoff, I got so mad I smashed my guitar (regretfully) and sat down and made this. It is not meant to be funny. I sat down and made this little piece of pop art. I call it "Bernie in Hell" and now I feel better. I decided since I was putting bernie madoff in hell (visually) then he woulod do nicely on a hot sauce bottle. Here is my art statement/ hot sauce. BERNIE IN HELL SAUCE. They are 10 dollars a piece, signed and numbered. The sauce is really hot habanero sauce (and really good) But I did not make this as a condiment, it is a piece of art you should treat like art.

When I am uber- famous you will be sorry you wasted this on your tacos.

dali, vermeer, paprika and me

I have recently begun experimenting with using paprika as a pigment. I have mixed it with oil and found the color to be suitable for painting the "skin of genius." Dali once said that he would give his left hand to spend 1 hour watching Vermeer of Delft paint and thus he could find out the secret and magic formula that made vermeer the great genius he was. I would not trade a hand to watch vermeer--I would, however, trade a finger. If I could watch dali watching vermeer that would be worth my left hand. I am convinced that the secret ingredient of vermeer was paprika. I have thus begun my inquiry into the use of paprika (smoked) as the replacement of burt sienna on the palette of Gardega. I will render flesh tones with it very soon to prove my great theory holds oil.

I will upload images later on as I am busy in my lab...

any questions from media..917 400 1317

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

please vote!

Please vote--- to the right! do you like the thing that is called modern and postmodern art?

el cropo

If you look throughout art history and look at xrays of old masters etc you will see it is highly common for artists to cut down canvas and panels and even add panels to a work as it progresses. I am much happier with my cropped canvas and have saved my canvas with the help of a razor. Another evening on this puppy and I can frame it..

the orphan

This painting is getting left behind---I cant save it and it's good moments aren't good enough to fight for anymore...If anyone wants it I will trade it for blank 18 x 24 win some you lose some but you cannot change the direction of the wind.

Doggy In The Window

I was walking in the cold NYC rain and I passed a liquor store with this creature in the window. In my next life I am going to get a "bowl haircut" and take photos of pets for a living. I like cell phone photos, something immediate about them.

welcome to mercury

While parts of the UK shivered under Arctic temperatures of -12 degrees, the EU and the Labour Party furthered its agenda to outlaw one of man’s greatest ever inventions all in the name of preventing global warming.

British citizens will be forced to completely switch over to so-called “low energy” bulbs, or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) in three years, despite the fact that CFL’s cause illnesses such as skin rashes, eyestrain, migraine, headaches and even seizures in those who suffer from epilepsy.

The EU is even flouting its own regulations to mandate the changeover - the “low energy” bulbs contain mercury which is banned as a toxic substance by the EU, leading to problems with disposal.

I would be a fool to deny there are enviromental problems but I am not fool enough to be blind to what is really going on here. If there government cared for "the sheep" they would:

1) take the mercury out of vaccines (1 in 100 autisic..)

2) They would ban the poison plastic in baby bottles that leeches estrogen mimicking hormones.

3) They would do something about the fact that one in three toys is now HIGHLY toxic.

4) They would actually mention the fact that our water and our bottled water is filled with deadly chemicals and prozac and pharmaceuticals.

the reason the Big Brother does nothing to stop any of these things is because the government only cares about full global control of what we can say or do and eventually--think. This is called acclimation --we are being slowly acclimated to the government telling us what we can do, what we can say, how we can light our house etc etc. You would think the fact that our drinking water has more Big Pharma Chemicals in it than the dumpster behind pfizer would gain some media attention. No, they are too busy making sure we have mercury filled light bulbs in our homes. a light bulb used to be the symbol of a great idea over ones head. I now replace that idea with a mercury- free egg. Keep watching that TV america--it is so very soothing.

painting in progress--detail

This is not an eye...

oil on gold leaf

artist of the day --magritte

Today I will touch briefly on the art of Magritte. I like him because he was highly individualistic in his style and work. The reason I chose this piece is because it is important to understand the philosophy behind it.

In french it reads "this is not a pipe"....

but it is a pipe you say!

no--it is a painting of a pipe---There is a huge distinction. Descartes learned us human hillbillies long ago that The Map is not the territory and when you truly understand a painting is what it is beyond what it is supposed to portray or represent you are truly a wiser fool.

René Magritte described his paintings by saying,

My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, "What does that mean?". It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.

It is hard to see him with fresh eyes as his work as has been horribly bastardized through illustration and cheap graphic design to no end. One of my professors from art school was one of the Main Offenders of the school of bastardization of the work of Magritte in illustration and he was followed by an entire group of like minded lemming-monkeys who further bastardized the work of said professor thus making a photocopy of a photocopy and so on and so on--ad nauseum etc and etc. I sat in the corner watching the monkeys try to type out all the works of Shakespeare on the typerwriter of non-individual thought, dropped out and became Gardega.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rooster oil painting

Here is a portrait of one of my favorite pet roosters. My family gave him up when they moved--I became depressed after saying good bye to my pet rooster so I painted his memory in photographic precision ---This was one of two of my favorite roosters /chickens. Again, this is the past and the past is all to be cleaned out. Email me to purchase

8 x 10 inches oil on canvas


I will post later my Westchester book cover--(almost done) and then get back to finishing my Mcsorley's piece in tandem with a new statue of liberty. I am painting the Rye Play land Dragon coaster. I had trouble getting excited about this piece until I decided the symbology of it was genius and worthy of serious labor. It became apparent to my mind that the green dragon was a perfect Freudian example of the green beast of suburban jealousy and malaise --and the suburban lemmings are the ones who doled out their own money to be consumed (faustian style) by the flaming beast. I am not anti- suburbs, I am anti small mindedness and anti sports and country clubs being the most important thing on someone's mind, even lizards have higher natures. As an extremest I prefer the deepest dark backwoods of America or the dead center overworked heart of a thriving metropolis. I am comfortable in both but I do not sit well with a meal that is neither "fish nor fowl." But then again maybe it is just a roller coaster--pay to play, baby, pay to play.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Have you noticed there is a large rise in people with thyroid problems? I know personally a few people with thyroid issues. If one does a little research one can see a painfully clear correlation between fluoride and thyroid issues. I am only the savior of modern art and cannot also be the MD of all mankind so it is up to you to learn about the bodies inability to remove fluoride, how it is a toxic poison--(read the back of the tube. ) And how it lowers IQ's in humans by up to 20%. Alex grew up on water from a private well in Texas so I can still think and as a young man I drank only beer so my brain is a well oiled machine of thought that is comfortable looking under the hood of the 1984 lime green station wagon that is the human condition.

quote of the day

The last refuge of the individual is his own mind----and now they're coming after that, too...

heard this today


I am not sure if there is life on Mars---I am not really that interested as it will only be (at best) tiny microbes and not intelligent life. My main question is this--- is there life on Long Island.

quote of the day

gatting your news from the mainstream media it is like getting your wife from a catalog.

alex g.

The renaissance and youtube

I just typed The Renaissance into youtube to watch some art videos to inspire me to start my day and the first thing that came up was a rapper video by a guy name Q-tip--...not leonardo, not raphael---Q-TIP

This is my two cents about our present state of art and culture.

"Miraculous you call it babe
You ain't seen nothing yet
They've got Pepsi in the Andes
McDonalds in Tibet..."

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The reason there are ten million photographers when there only used to be 5 million is that you can use photoslop to make a bad photo look decent or even great if you work hard enough and now you don't have to mortgage your soul for FILM. If I take photos I don't allow myself to use photoshop except to crop the pictures---everything else feels like cheating. I studied photography for years and started in darkrooms and developing and that whole thing so when that world went the way of the DODO I threw away all my photography equipment and picked up my pencils again... Photoshop does have a good use though!..When are figuring out a composition of a painting and you are in the "sketch phase." You can really progress by adding or removing elements in your sketches to look at placement and composition etc. Here I added a snapshot of my mailbox ( I collect mailboxes and this is the one I keep my yearly receipts in) If anyone has an old rusted mailbox on their property I will buy it or trade art for it--- send me a photo.


the hallucinogenic chicken sketch

My recent and severe bout with food poisoning led me to some very strange visions. I was in bed and or in the bathroom for two days straight alone and mumbling and sweating. I sketched out these images between bed and bathroom. I am going to paint a large version of this piece using the same dimensions and geometry of Leonardo's St. Anne. They say that the part of the brain that gives rise religious ecstasy is the same part from which people experience epilepsy. The is indeed a connection between the hallucinatory, epileptic and ecstatic vision. Tribal cultures thought that these visions were sacred and I am not one to argue. This piece is is going to be a test of my geometric and visual skills. It will be four months of work while I am working on all my other deadlines etc.

great link

on modernism and kitsch and non-art

roughly one year ago a quote of mine ran in a NYC gossip column...

January 14, 2008 -- "MODERN art is like a Hollywood whore on her last legs no one loves anymore. She needs a savior to drive a stake through the foul heart of modernism and to bring painting back to the lofty planes of the Renaissance" -

art-world rebel
Alex Gardega.

"Because modernism has conquered art, kitsch is the savior of talent and devotion."

odd Nerdrum

I am not leaning on the past here except to explain the future.

Great art requires great philosophy and great philosophers (by their nature) are quite often decent and engaging writers writers. Here is some insight into a great artist (living) whose book I am re-reading. His name is Odd Nerdrum, he is Norwegian.

Many think of the word 'kitsch' as representing cheap, commercial, and often ugly objects. According to the published pieces, Nerdrum instead considers kitsch to include the realm of the sentimental, the sensual, and the non-metaphysical: "the gypsy girl and the little boy with the tear. The grandmother with the child on her lap and the fisherman with his pipe. The two silhouettes against a sunset, and not least the moose by the lake." With kitsch, Nerdrum implies, quality comes down to execution and the viewer's empathic reaction, not analysis and ideas.

"A work of kitsch is either good or bad, and good kitsch must not be classified as art. This would be an error of judgement. Kitsch is not modern art. Kitsch refers to the sensual and the timeless."

"Innovation is of no importance, nor is originality. Going in depth and becoming engrossed is the goal, for in the depiction of nature itself lies the individual expression."

"Because modernism has conquered art, kitsch is the savior of talent and devotion."

From 'Kitsch -- The Superstructure of Sensuality', Nedrum's speech at the Haugar Art Museum in Tonsberg, Norway, 19 June 1999

"But let us for a minute look at what is lacking contemporary art. What do we miss? I see four things: 1. The open, trustful face, 2. The sensual skin, 3. Golden sunsets, and 4. The longing for eternity. Taken together, these values add up to kitsch -- whether we like it or not.
The concept of Kitsch, in the derogatory sense of cheap decoration, came into use a hundred years ago when the new Modernism clashed with the old European culture -- the stagnant and regressive world. Most people in the art world seem to believe that if 17th-century Rembrandt had lived today, he would have been a Jackson Pollock or a conceptual artist. I don't. People develop according to their own needs. I don't believe that all talented people bow to their times and follow the Zeitgeist. Rembrandt was dictated by his gift for drawing, just as Puccini was dictated by his melodic repository. A modern atonal composer is a completely different person. He is not as strongly controlled by his own destiny, and is free enough to experiment. Rembrandt would hardly have painted his 17th-centry Dutch interiors today, but the same eyes would have been there, the same darkness and the same sensual skin. As strange as his heartfeltness and entire being was to his own times, so it would seem to us. Even his most timeless pictures would be considered kitsch if they had been painted today.
Today, the solid superstructure Art has become an overwhelming force, unparalleled in history. It protects all kinds of intellectual scribble, while a beautifully drawn nude can be criticized to pieces, because a work like this lacks a respectful superstructure.
The great misconception of the modernists is that they have demanded everything that a classical figurative painter can not give them -- constant renewal, exciting experiments and compliance with contemporary styles, etc. A painter using the old master style is sensual. His aim is to become engrossed in his work and skillfully render life's eternal moments without prejudice. But in doing this, he is not protected by his time. He has to compete with the best ever created in all times. This is a heavy burden to bear, which becomes heavier when his striving is ignored or een laughed at. When additionally he claims to be an artist, he is of course placed at the bottom of the hierarchy. Because he is in a false situation, all he does is wrong.
Kitsch must be separated from art. A kitsch painter works toward different goals than the artist. I know that kitsch is a difficult word, but being strictly pragmatic, it is the only thing which can give the sensual form of expression a superstructure of its own, something which can in its turn restore the shine to a beautiful work. Maybe then can the others -- the modernists -- gain respect for such a work, when it honestly presents itself for what it is, and does not come disguised as art."

From Nerdrum's speech at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo, 24 September 1998

[editor's note: on how he came to the decision that he was not about art, but kitsch:]

"My path to this insight ran through art history and the story of the great Cezanne breakthrough at the beginning of the century -- how art became the metaphysical applause for the new sciences, and how it got its meaning and substance by being the expression for a certain truth. It could be the truth about man as a social being, as a rational or irrational being, or the truth about the agonized or ironic relationship between the artist and reality. From that time on, art received its justification for existence from the rebellion against tradition, history and power in all forms. Subsequently, it became a characteristic trait with the new art to seek innovation instead of tradition, and legitimize itself by something outside the work of art."

"Kitsch is about the eternal human questions, the pathetic, whatever its form, about what we call the human. The task of kitsch is to create a seriousness in life, at its best so sublime it will bring the laughter to a quiet."

From 'Nerdrum on Kitsch', cover story in Morgenbladet, Oslo, 23 October, 1998, interviewed by Sindre Mekjan

Mekjan: What is beauty?
Nerdrum: "The presence of substance, the sublime presence of matter when light hits it in the dark. When the light tears the darkness off the naked bodies, this beautiful expression originates."

Mekjan: Much of the criticism against kitsch and bad art is ethical.
Nerdrum: "Yes, because kitsch somehow wants to be left alone with its beauty and drama. I believe I am a genuine kitsch personality. I have no ideology, and have never had. I have no religion, but I know a madonna can be badly painted and become a mockery to religion. Well painted, it can surpass religion -- that is what is so amazing about kitsch. On its highest level it transcends truth. At its lowest, truth laughs at it. Kitsch is the credo of aesthetics. It is an experience of life at its most wonderful, without involving morality. If you do involve morality, it's no longer kitsch, its art - religion. Aesthetics is and will be a problem for all of us, because it is all we are left with at the end of the line. We are kitsch on our deathbeds."

Alice in Winter Watercolor

12  x 16 inches on arches paper to purchase