The easy way out of this one is to praise Kinkade for his business acumen and his recognition of the realities of art in a capitalist economy, giving the finger to elitist, highbrow agendas. Perhaps some people would add that Kinkade is somehow populist, bringing art to the masses via his team of production “assistants” (he seems to think so, anyway). A corollary of this point of view identifies Kinkade as a Warholian figure, manipulating the media and public perception with his branding as the “Painter of Light” and so on. A somewhat more risky response would be to laud Kinkade’s mishaps with the law and bad press, e.g. his problem with public urination, sexual harrassment of employees, and inappropriate, drunken yelling at public events.
I don’t favor any of these reasons when I say something good about Kinkade. I think Kinkade is good because he makes me reflect about issues surrounding art and general culture: why do so many people buy Kinkade prints? Why does Kinkade succeed where other brainier artists with pretentions of populism fail? Why is it cool for highly educated art professionals to try to say something good about Kinkade as a way of seeming tougher/smarter than other highly educated art professionals?
Nice response, Ben. I don’t have anything nice to say about Kinkade. I’d like to see demographic info on who buys his prints, as ubiquitous as they are supposed to be I’ve never actually seen one hanging in a house or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve only seen them on TV and on the big-ass billboard advertising his gallery between Nashville and Memphis, I think it’s in Jackson. Hmm, I wonder if Rammer’s parents have one in their house?
Alright guys. I had to show up late because of a WUTS meeting, but I wanted to throw in my two cents about Thomas. For one, as far as I’ve known this place, we don’t blackball people. Now, I know that it’s late, and I know that we’ve already agreed on 18 bids, and I know that BJ had a tough time with this guy in PRE, but seriously, let’s give this a second thought. He’s been nothing but nice to me in astronomy. He’s made the initiative to come out here on his own more than a few times. And that excludes Fall Party Weekend. Should I also remind you that he’s been here twice for house clean-up, and one of those times he was out-of-town for Friday AND Saturday night. He has a 3.1 GPA at this point, and it couldn’t hurt to have another guy around here who doesn’t get the vayne, nor drink mind you. Overall I think he’s a pretty solid guy that deseves a shot.
Let’s put it this way…if he gets hooked up with a good Big Brother and if he listens up during initiation, I think there’s a good chance he’ll become a valuable member. What do you say?!
Ben’s response is a good one. But Kyle’s is REALLY good. I think the most standard nice thing to say about Kinkade would be the first response that Ben has already posted, so I won’t say it again, but I don’t necessarily agree that saying something good about Kinkade means you’re tougher or smarter than anybody else in the art industry – and it is an industry, mind you. I suppose if I were going to say something good/nice about Thomas Kinkade, it would have to be that his art is a clear-cut example of the realization of two of my favorite writings-about-art: 1) Benjamin’s “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” (sans, of course, B’s enthusiasm for the initial idea), and T. Adorno’s notion of the “culture industry.” It confirms it and that’s why I’d have to say I like it. Well, that means I don’t necessarily like the art, but I like the theoretical import and/or baggage, if you will, that comes with it. But since this has already been said, and I don’t really want to just recycle Ben’s original post, I would say that I suppose you could view Kinkade as a “stepping stone” into art for a lot of people: it’s affordable and it’s definitely art (we won’t get into this argument here, but, trust me, it is – it just may not be good art, but I’m in no place to dictate what that is). That said, what would you rather have someone – your parents, perhaps – have hanging on their living room wall? A Kinkade or, like, one of those posters with a leopard (velvet, of course) or some Native American motif? I’ll take the Kinkade any day. Well, maybe not – it’d be pretty bitchin’ if my parents were into that other shit, but then again, if they were, I’d probably never have met you guys.
Apparently there are lots of great things to say about the man. Pat even left a link above to read all about him on Wikipedia. It was highly informative: “Kinkade says he is placing emphasis on the value of simple pleasures and that his intent is to communicate inspirational, life-affirming messages through his work. A self-described “devout Christian” (all of his children have the middle name “Christian”), Kinkade has said he gains his inspiration from his religious beliefs and that his work is intended to contain a larger moral dimension. Many pictures contain specific chapter-and-verse allusions to certain Bible passages.”