L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Painter of...ec-c-ch!"

It may screw with my karma, but I have to admit no small satisfaction that it appears Thomas Kinkade has hit the skids. Born the same year I was born, graduated high school that same Bicentennial year I graduated, he made millions and millions from the mass-marketing of his wretched work. Copies of that wretched work. And now all his gold-spinning ventures seem to have devolved into lawsuits and bankruptcy. And a highly publicized DUI arrest. While I'm completely envious of those millions, and the clever marketing that got them, it's mystifying and extremely disheartening that someone with so little skill, with so little actual talent - so little - got so far.

But the fact of his one-time amazing popularity tells us something. The general public, the ones who don't go to museums or art galleries - maybe never in a lifetime - are still clambering for beauty; people want something of beauty in their lives. Accessible, pictorial beauty. Something that they can hang on their walls and live with. (I think this is some basic human need, to take something of beauty into one's home.) And the simple fact is that this avaricious, bible-thumping hack gave the public something it needed. Maybe without even knowing it needed it. Because our country is so totally uneducated in art history and has so little appreciation of any of the arts, and because contemporary artists make little that the uninitiated are capable of responding to, the great unsophisticated public - the numbers are probably inflated, but some say 1 in 20 homes in America has a Kinkade "product" - threw itself wholeheartedly into his grasping, sweaty hands. In some ways, they had nowhere else to go.

On so many levels, the great, puffed-up success of Thomas Kinkade is very, very sad thing. For this country, for artists, for art. And if he falls, nothing gets any better.


[Sorry, but I felt unable to post an example of his work, here; I do hope you'll understand....]

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