Odd Nerdrum (born 8 April 1944) is a controversial Norwegian figurative painter whose work is held by museums worldwide. Themes and style in Odd’s work reference anecdote and narrative. Primary influences by the painters Rembrandt and Caravaggio help place his work in direct conflict with the abstraction and conceptual art considered acceptable in much of his native Norway.
Nerdrum creates six to eight paintings a year that include: still life paintings of small, everyday objects like bricks, portraits and self-portraits, and large paintings allegorical and apocalyptic in nature. Subjects of Nerdrum’s paintings are often dressed as if from another time and place.
Nerdrum says that his art should be understood as kitsch rather than art as such. “On Kitsch“, a manifesto composed by Nerdrum, describes the distinction he makes between kitsch and art. Nerdrum’s philosophy has spawned The Kitsch Movement among his students and followers, who call themselves kitsch painters rather than artists.
Odd Nerdrum’s work is held in several public collections worldwide including in the United States: the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York, New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), New Orleans, Louisiana, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), San Diego, California, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in Norway, the National Gallery in Oslo. Odd Nerdrum is represented by the Forum Gallery, New York City.
Odd Nerdrum’s Kitsch and Roger Scruton’s Beauty were the main topics of discussion at TRAC2014. The difference between the aesthetical views of the two philosophers, can more or less be summed up in some of what Stephen Hicks also concluded with in The Aesthetics of 21st Century Panel Discussion:
Professor Scruton is a Platonic-Kantian and Odd Nerdrum an aristotelian, reacting against Kant’s ideas, which have been so influential in the universities, politics and aesthetics since the 18th century. The former wants to observe and describe the present situation, the latter wants to change it and find a solution.