Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

Friday, November 28, 2008

A quick lesson for Mr. Bates.

Claude Monet is art:

Wassily Kandinsky is art:

Pablo Picasso is art:

Rene Magritte is art:

Andy Warhol is art:

Marcel Duchamp is art:

Thomas Kinkade is not art:

Every one of the above artists had a reason to paint what they painted, a message they wanted to convey, a new style or artistic idea to share. They painted because they loved to paint, or because they had to paint, or because painting gave them an outlet to express something.

Kinkade, if he even paints anything himself, paints to exploit a group of easily influenced sheeple - evangelical Christians - and make tons and tons of money off of them. He's a sleazy businessman, not an artist. His works lack any depth of style or substance, and they add nothing to the overall artistic conversation. They are the painted equivalent of a McDonalds hamburger - mass-produced, tasteless, and bad for America. The only lesson we can take away from Kinkade is the lesson that people are suckers who will buy anything, which is a lesson that has already been explored in art a million times over, often with a touch of humor or irony.

Michael Bates: Blogger of Stupid

In this week's Urban Tulsa, Michael Bates is apparently going to expound on the profound meaning behind one of America's most prolific painters.

Thomas Kinkade.

According to Bates, we can take lessons from the "Painter of Light" about how "places...have the ability to touch the heart."

Thomas Kinkade is the very symbol of everything that is vapid and meaningless about modern consumer culture. His "art" if it can be properly called that, which it can't, is mass-produced garbage packaged with a clever marketing scheme that creates a mythos that Kinkade is some kind of New Age/Evangelical guru. The pieces themselves, nondescript scenes of cottages, rivers, trees, churches, and other such completely meaningless idyllic scenes, are sold in little stores in malls across America, as if they had no more purpose or deeper meaning than, say, a GAP sweater, which they don't.

Thomas Kinkade is the artistic equivalent of simultaneously listening to Kenny G, eating at the Olive Garden, watching Oprah, and reading an inspirational book by Deepak Chopra.

All while having a giant crystal shoved up your ass for good measure.

Mr. Bates, I have a suggestion for your next column. Please, go to a local elevator or grocery store and review the music being piped over the speakers. Surely you have an opinion on that wonderfully mellow instrumental version of Abba's "Waterloo" that keeps looping over and over again.

Or heck, go review local "smooth jazz" celebrity what's his ass, um, Grady Nichols. If you find meaning in Thomas Kinkade, then Grady Nichols will blow your fucking mind.

Edit: I just noticed that there's a TM after the phrase "Painter of Light" in Bates' post. So in other words, this guy Kinkade has a trademarked advertising slogan.


Edit 2: This Wikipedia article sheds some more "light" on Kinkade.

Thomas Kinkade (born January 19, 1958 in Sacramento, California) is an American painter of realistic, bucolic, and idyllic subjects. He is most notable for the mass marketing of his work as printed reproductions and other licensed products via The Thomas Kinkade Company. He is self described as "Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light" (a trademarked phrase), and as "America's most-collected living artist".[1] It is estimated that 1 in 10 homes in the U.S. feature some form of Thomas Kinkade’s art or licensed product.[2]

He has received criticism for the extent to which he has commercialized his art -- for example, selling his prints on the QVC home shopping network. Others have written that his paintings are merely kitsch, without substance,[3] and described it as chocolate box art.[4]


Kinkade's works are sold by mail order and in dedicated retail outlets as high-quality prints, often using texturizing techniques on real canvas to make the surface of the finished prints mimic the raised surface of the original painting. Some of the prints also feature light effects that are painted onto the print surface by hand by "skilled craftsmen," touches that add to the illusion of light and the resemblance to an original work of art. Licensing with Hallmark and other corporations have made it possible for Kinkade's images to be used extensively on other merchandise such as calendars, puzzles, greeting cards, and CDs. He has also authored or been the subject of over 120 books and is the only artist to license his trademark and artwork to multiple housing developments.

Kinkade is reported to have earned $53 million for his artistic work in the period 1997 to May 2005.[11]


The Los Angeles Times report that some of Kinkade's former colleagues, employees, and even collectors of his work say that he has a long history of cursing and heckling other artists and performers. The Times further reports that he openly groped a woman's breasts at a South Bend, Indiana sales event, and mentioned his proclivity for ritual territory marking through urination.[18] Kinkade denied some of the Times's allegations, but accepted and apologized for others.[19]

In 2006 John Dandois, Media Arts Group executive, recounted a story that on one occasion ("about six years ago") Kinkade became drunk at a Siegfried and Roy magic show in Las Vegas and began shouting "Codpiece! Codpiece!" at the performers. Eventually he was calmed by his mother.[18] Dandois also said of Kinkade, "Thom would be fine, he would be drinking, and then all of a sudden, you couldn't tell where the boundary was, and then he became very incoherent, and he would start cussing and doing a lot of weird stuff."[18]

I'll leave it there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Rene Magritte

Google's front page informs me that today marks the 110th birthday of Belgian Surrealist artist Rene Magritte. Magritte is one of my favorite artists. My partner and I dressed up as Magritte's "Son of Man" for Halloween - wearing suits, bowler hats, and apple masks. I may post pictures of that later.

In honor of this occasion, here are a few of his greatest pieces:

First of all, here's "Son of Man:"

Next, here's what is probably his most famous painting, called "The Treachery of Images:"

The caption, "This is not a pipe," is actually quite true. Magritte's point, of course, is that this is merely a picture of a pipe, an image. You can't smoke it. He followed this up with several other "this is not a" paintings in the same vein.

Next, here's "Golconde:"

From Wikipedia:

The piece depicts a scene of identical men dressed in dark overcoats and bowler hats, who seem to be floating like helium balloons (though there is no actual indication of motion), against a backdrop of buildings and blue sky. It is humorous, but with an obvious criticism of the conventional effacing of individuality.

Magritte himself lived in a similar suburban environment, and dressed in a similar fashion. The bowler hat was a common feature of much of his work, and appears in paintings like The Son of Man.

Here's Magritte's "Self Portrait:"

For more Magritte, here's a Google Image search.