Kitsch and Tell


Celeste Rapone explores overproduction in her practice of painting. She starts her process in a place of ‘pretty’ and, in examining the subjects’ dysfunctional relationship with their environment, her paintings become increasingly violated and pushed to a state of grotesque through the use of garish color and rough texture.

She begins her work conceptually  by pointing to consumption of ‘polite’ bad taste obtained from mass-produced kitsch decor; the objects and palette that determine the initial composition are received from a retail modality and later manipulated to reflect the dystopic, non-idealized space they inhabit in the paintings.

I am inspired by Ms. Rapone’s piece, Cream Filled, to create a lounge area that bursting with aesthetically pretty items that may (or may not) have a dysfunctional relationship with other items in the room. Taking a cue from her exploration of overproduction and mass-produce kitsch décor, my vision for this lounge is to pepper it with accoutrements that matches her discovery.

1. Cream Filled shows lithe models in sexy poses surrounding a jovial, slightly chubby girl. This round and full Waris Side Table from Jayson Home captures both types of figures as depicted in the painting. There  is a juxtaposition between the thin wood sticks and the fullness that all of the wood sticks create while molded into the side table.

2. Another pick from Jayson Home that pairs nicely with this painting is the Drake Sofa, the vertical seam lines in this caramel brown leather couch is a kitsch-y nod to the vertical lines in the background of the painting as well as the repetition of those lines in the bikinis.

3. Rapone’s work, historically, is a visual feast of colors. This Big Garden Printed Rug from Urban Outfitters is equally appetizing with its large tawdry and bold colors.

4. So- a quick recap of what we’ve got in our lounge so far: We’ve got the perfect side table to set our drink on top of, a plush sofa to recline on, and a bold rug to run our bare feet across. What’s the missing necessity? Ah, yes – the birdcage that holds all of our liquor. It may feel as if this doesn’t belong with the rest of the items I’ve chosen for this lounge, but the La Cage from CB2 is the dysfunctional piece that makes absolute sense. At least now we all know why the caged bird sings.

5. Not everything in this room has to be dysfunctional, that’s why I’ve included this Libations Bar Cart from Crate and Barrel. The bird (liquor) cage has a bright future sitting on top of this brass plated frame beauty with reflecting antique tempered glass.

6. For an additional antique touch, vintage whiskey decanters from The MCB Shop are perfect for saving some whiskey for later. As if there’ll be any whiskey to save for later in this lounge.

7. A lounge is not an ideal place for a unicorn. That’s why this Unicorn Hook from Urban Outfitters is, without a doubt, the perfect place for this lounge. As you hand your guests their first glass, you’ll reach for their (fake) fur stoles and throw it over the twisted ceramic horn.

8. A flower pot with a large flower already attached to it further explores Rapone’s discussion of overproduction. It makes no sense to buy a flower pot that doesn’t already have a flower in it so that we can add even more flowers. That’s why I’ve chosen this Curvy Chrysanthemum Vase from Anthropologie. If anything is going to be overproduced in this lounge, I prefer that its something that smells good.

9. And on that note, I’d like to add even more flowers, so this Chemist Vase (also from Anthropologie) will allow me to do just that. Moreover the lines in the vase triptych pairs well with the lines in the sofa and in the painting.


About Maya-Camille Broussard

Maya-Camille Broussard is a curator and designer living in Chicago. Both her personal blog, The MCB Project and TCW, Blog Art Cart, focus on arts integration and interior design. Her online store, The MCB Shop, provides style for the home and style for the everyday life with housewares, vintage accessories and accoutrements for women and men.