Odd Nerdrum, The Dust Lickers, 2005

There was a pivotal moment in Odd Nerdrum’s career when he had a conversation about Modern Art with a curator at the Met. He asked her about timeless sunsets, warm faces with engaging eyes, poetic craftsmanship, a loving couple sitting on a bench, and a nude woman whose eyes say ‘Come, my love.’ The curator laughed and replied “But this is kitsch!” Nerdrum explains that from then on he understood what he really was; a Kitsch painter. Since then he has worked to reclaim that word ‘kitsch’ from the annals of art history.
Nerdrum seeks to make art that deals in universal human emotions, often pointing to how his hero Rembrandt did just that. He feels that Modern Art puts much emphasis on novelty, and that Art should get back to the sentimental, as it transcends all time. As Nerdrum puts it, “the kitsch painter commits himself to the eternal: love, death and the sunrise.”
This painting by Nerdrum is called ‘The Dustlickers.’ It refers to how many people today consume television, social media, celebrity gossip, etc and expect these things to fulfill their desires, but it is as if they are eating dust and expecting to feel full.


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