My goal, which I've said before, is to foster a collaboration between the disparate contemporary humanist (figurative, classical, realist, etc...) movements. As I discuss below, the fundamental goal that I find among all of these movements; from Contemporary Classical Realism, to NovoRealism, to Kitsch, is that they are striving to offer an alternative to the contemporary definition of Art: something more akin to its original meaning. How they differ is their approach to achieving this goal. So, I'll begin with a short, and by no means complete history, of the term "kitsch" and try and cover some major points as I see them.
The Kitsch movement reasons that the contemporary idea of "Art" came about in the modern era (the enlightenment). Before then, the term "ars" or "techne" was synonymous with "skill and beauty" going all the way back to ancient Greece. The theory of Art as "form" became popularized in the modern era with Kant. Kant was not the first, but he was the most influential and his assertions form the basis for modern and postmodern philosophy and art theory. When he applied protestant morality to aesthetics, he set the groundwork for Hegel, defining Art as ONLY the idea, separate from its manifestation. Kant defined the "sublime" in a slightly different sense than we tend to think of it today. At that time, the sublime was not an absence of thought, but more and experience of the divine thought. Thus the aesthetic experience was the "Form" of God. Hegel took this further to say that the true artist shouldn't even dirty his hands with making it himself. He will pay others to do it for him. This is what made it possible to have Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Paul McCarthy, Gilbert & George, (of course also money, power, and politics). As a side note: Greenberg was known to be a devout follower of Kant and disagreed with Hegel. Greenberg thought the art was the idea, but it must be made by the "true" man, in other words, a primal, primitive/modern man without skills.
As I said before, the term "ars" was traditionally used to refer to skill and beauty. Of course the "idea" or conceptual was an integral part of the whole, but it was not the entirety of it. This is closest to what the term "Kitsch" intends to mean.
Here is where we come to our choice of strategy. As we've seen demonstrated by politics time and again, the group that defines the language, makes the rules, and so always wins the game. And right now post-modernists and contemporary art are the ones who control the language and define what "Art" is. They will not let us co-exist in their world because we threaten them by our very nature. It gives one an immediate pleasure to look at a beautiful, skillful, and emotive painting. But with contemporary Art, you have to be taught to appreciate it. They will not allow us to label them "Anti-Art" or "Post-Art" (as Kuspit, Kaprow, and many others have tried) because they have the power to define Art. They have the money, politics, and the entire media machine behind them. It is much easier to change the definition of "Kitsch" than it is to change the contemporary meaning of "Art". Especially since they label us as kitsch to begin with. Thus, instead of being labeled low Art, a great figurative painter would be called high Kitsch. In the words of Broch :
"There are geniuses within Kitsch, like Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Ilya Repin."
At this point, we will not be able to return the definition of Art back to its original state. I wonder if we even should. But we might be able to offer an alternative to contemporary Art. We can re-establish humanism, beauty, and skill. We can re-establish rationality. This all depends on how many people agree with the positive re-definition of "Kitsch". If people agree, then the meaning changes and we succeed.
The kitsch movement does not want to eradicate abstract art and contemporary art. In fact, the goal is quite the opposite. If people want to continue putting sharks in formaldehyde and others want to buy it, that's their affair. But we want to limit their power to oppress our form of expression. This is why the tactic of the Kitsch movement is not to replace contemporary Art, but to offer an alternative. As Odd said in On Kitsch:
"Kitsch is passion's form of expression at all levels, and not the servant of truth. On the contrary, it keeps relative to religion and truth. A well painted Madonna therefore transcends its holiness. And truth, Kitsch leaves for Art. In Kitsch, skill is a decisive criteria of quality. The work of the hand is self-revealing in the light of long-established norms. In this way, Kitsch is without protection because the standards are the best ever created in history. To Picasso and Warhol, it was different. They were protected by contemporary values, and still are. Art is protected against the past, because it is something different."
For example: the Mona Lisa. This is exactly Plato's "form". It is an idealization and not an actual person. Da Vinci based his scientific studies on Aristotle and said observing from nature was the first rule. So, Da Vinci was using both "form" and "matter". Look at much of Michelangelo's work - it is an idealized version of the human body, much like the Greeks, and seeks rhythm. Both of them are also Apollonian, they seek order.
So, what is Kitsch? It is akin to the original idea of ars, replete with skill and beauty: a continuous and seamless harmony between the concept and its manifestation. Kitsch is about humanism. According to Richard Wollheim, Kitsch would be "objectivist". Kitsch is about the universal human experience. Kitsch is Dionysian and follows Aristotle, but does not refute Plato. Odd Nerdrum did not set Kitsch up in opposition with Art. Kant, Hegel, and Clement Greenberg did. Odd and the Kitsch movement are merely offering an alternative to the contemporary definition of Art. And the great thing about the term is that it has it's own built in marketing. It's controversial, yet it enables us to focus on the positive, instead of negative campaigning against contemporary Art like Roger Scruton, Robert Hughes, and so many others do - to little effect. They deride Art, but they don't offer us an alternative, which is counter-productive.