From sequined champagne glasses to neon crucifixes, more than 200 exhibits adorn the walls and shelves of the Romanian Kitsch Museum, a collection of poor taste, “failed art,” and overall cheesiness.
The kitsch museum opened in May, 2017. It was the brainchild of Cristian Lica, a seasoned Romanian world traveler who decided that his collection of kitsch, assembled over the past 20 years, would make a perfect museum in Bucharest.
The entire collection is divided into eight sections. There’s the Dracula section, naturally, which pays homage to one of the country’s most famous characters (by way of Transylvania, a historical region in what is now central Romania). There’s also religious kitsch and communist kitsch; interior design kitsch, gypsy kitsch and modern kitsch.
If you’re feeling creative in a cheesy kind of way, then you’ll enjoy the Make Your Own Kitsch section, where you can craft the most tacky things that come to mind. And if you own something you believe deserves a place in the kitsch hall of fame, you can submit it for consideration in the museum’s Kitsch Art Gallery, which fills the second floor.
Some of the exhibits flirt with controversy, especially in the communist, gypsy, and religious categories. A mannequin of a pregnant gypsy woman standing next to a baby plays with the stereotypical portrayal of a poor Romani woman. Orthodox clerics standing next to luxury cars poke fun at religious hypocrisy. But none of it is deliberately meant to offend. For the curator, these totems of tastelessness simply exist: they are what they are.
Other artifacts encountered on this kitsch trip through Romania’s culture and history include neon Christian crosses, digitally flickering fireplaces, cushions in the shape of one-euro coins, painted clown statues, and a statue of David wearing a super bling and totally tacky gold dollar-sign medallion.
And if you really want to crank up the crassness, you can even arrange to be picked up and taken to the museum in a limousine. Life doesn’t get much more kitsch than that.
Update as of October 2022: The museum is closed indefinitely.
November 2023: no sign of any museum, closed or otherwise. It seems now to have been replaced by a bar.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open daily from midday to 10 p.m.