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Romanian Museum Celebrates Creativity of Kitsch


A reconstructed apartment interior is pictured inside the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 4, 2017.

Visitors to Romania who yearn for a taste of communist-era kitsch now have an entire museum to enjoy.

From the mundane (wedding champagne flutes covered in sequins and bows) to the spectacular (a life-sized Dracula and flashing neon crucifixes), Bucharest's Kitsch Museum celebrates questionable taste of the past and present.

Museum owner Cristian Lica poses for a picture inside the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 4, 2017.
Museum owner Cristian Lica poses for a picture inside the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 4, 2017.

"My favorite kitsch, which has unfortunately been damaged, is a statue of Christ with an incorporated room thermometer," said Cristian Lica, who opened the museum to show off a collection he has amassed over two decades. "The creativity behind kitsch must be admired."

The 215 exhibits are curated into several categories: communist, Dracula, Orthodox Church, contemporary and Gypsy kitsch, which, Lica said, was not meant to offend the Roma minority.

A reinterpreted version of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" is pictured on a ceiling inside the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 5, 2017.
A reinterpreted version of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" is pictured on a ceiling inside the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 5, 2017.

"We don't want to insult anyone. We didn't invent anything. We just picked up items from the reality around us," he said.

Lica, who has traveled to over 100 countries and has written a travel book, said he thought Romania has been particularly prone to kitsch as it rushed to catch up with the aspirational living standards of its richer Western neighbors.

A LED light shines inside a plastic rendition of Jesus Christ on the cross at the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 5, 2017.
A LED light shines inside a plastic rendition of Jesus Christ on the cross at the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 5, 2017.

In the communism collection, plain cotton underwear hangs out to dry, a common sight on apartment balconies of the era. For Romanians, the tiny museum in the capital's picturesque old town, is full of recognizable artifacts both from pre-1989 communist times and the present.

A child observes objects that make up part of a communist-era interior inside the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 5, 2017.
A child observes objects that make up part of a communist-era interior inside the newly opened Kitsch Museum in Bucharest, Romania, May 5, 2017.

"It reminded me of my childhood, how I grew up, how the house looked," said local visitor Simona Constantin. "I am glad such a museum has opened. Everything I have seen has made me nostalgic."

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