Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is it art or is it Thomas Kinkade?

It's easy for the "educated elite" to disparage schlock and sentimentality. It's harder to actually explain what they are, why they are bad, and why their alternatives are clearly preferable. Joe Carter does a good job on his blog using as an example the artist the art world loves to hate, Thomas Kinkade, "The Artist of Light TM." As Carter demonstrates, Kinkade is more complicated that he first appears because in the past he was something else, as the case study Carter leads off with illustrates. Both of the above paintings of Chicago's iconic Water Tower are by Kinkade. What happened? Read the article (with additional illustrations) for his insight into Kinkade and the appeal of his quasi-religious and patriotic products. The comments that follow--both pro and con--are also revealing. One writer also references another earlier and excellent article examining the Kinkade phenomenon, including its relation to Christian theology, by Gregory Wolfe.

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