Lion of the Blogosphere

Thomas Kinkade

Following up with another art post.

This is from a letter to the NY Times published in 1999:

If Mr. Kinkade is ”America’s most collected living artist,” it’s a damning indictment of our society. Were citizens to graduate from our school systems believing a diet of pure candy to be nutritionally acceptable or, worse, ”uplifting,” Congress would waste no time appropriating funds to combat such ignorance before it destroyed our national health. Funding for art education, as well as the National Endowment, must be drastically increased before treacle factories like Mr. Kinkade’s plunge our nation into a cultural coma.

The tone of this letter demonstrates the irrational elite hatred of anything that the proles like.

The idea that somehow Congress could somehow pass a law that would result in people no longer liking pretty paintings, it’s pretty of ludicrous. How could you teach that? And, of course, even if you could somehow teach the proles to like something else, the elites would then snub whatever the proles like instead, in order to continue to distinguish themselves from the masses.

While I do agree that Kinkade’s subject matter is on the prole side of landscape art (hey, it’s hard for me to not be an elitist), let’s admire his skill as a painter. He may not be the most skilled landscape artist there ever was (perhaps that person was Albert Bierstadt), but his level of skill is nevertheless head and shoulders above the typical dreck on display in galleries in Chelsea.

Also, let’s give Kinkade credit for having the prescience to develop a style that predicted the look of HDR photography (made possible with digital cameras and computers) before Photoshop even existed.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 11, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Art

65 Responses

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  1. The far left is opposed to truth and beauty in all of its forms.

    B.T.D.T.

    December 11, 2017 at EDT am

    • This is basically it.

      The psychological essence of conservatism is the disgust reaction. To be conservative is to love beauty and to hate disgusting things.

      The psychological essence of liberalism is the pursuit of novelty. This leads to conclusions like “that which is beautiful is actually boring and trite” and “that which appears disgusting is unexplored and therefore novel and intriguing”.

      Thus, conservative/mass art depicts beautiful things, while leftist art is exemplified by literally using feces as a medium.

      Of course, all people pursue novelty and hate disgusting things to some degree; the difference is in relative preferences.

      Wency

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • The psychological essence of conservatism is the disgust reaction. To be conservative is to love beauty and to hate disgusting things.

        The psychological essence of liberalism is the pursuit of novelty.

        I agree with all of this as far as it goes. But – it gets more interesting, and a bit confusing, and a bit surprising. If you listen to Jordan Peterson’s lectures on the Big Five personality traits (or want to take his personality test, here – it costs money but worth it IMHO), he makes it clear that liberals tend to be high in “openness” – i.e., as you say, they’re interested in novelty. BUT – people high in “openness” ALSO tend to be the artistic, creative people, and people NOT high in openness tend not to be creative or artistic.

        What this amounts to, in spite of what you said above (which I AGREE with), is that liberalism tends to correlate with being artistic. It seems counterintuitive if you think that in our culture, liberalism also correlates with wanting to destroy beauty, but there you are.

        If you have an hour, and you’re intrigued by this sort of stuff, you could do much, much worse than listening to Peterson’s interview with the director of the National Art Gallery of Canada:

        They explore all these psychological phenomena.

        SJ, Esquire

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

      • I think that openness is being confused with other things, and the test is being confused by cultural factors unique to the United States.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

      • I think that openness is being confused with other things, and the test is being confused by cultural factors unique to the United States.

        I think so too. Anyway, part of the reason I personally find it all so interesting is that, in terms of the Big Five personality traits, I score nearly off-the-charts on “orderliness” (hence my high disgust sensitivity and conservatism), but I am also moderately high in “openness” to experience (which is why I’m somewhat, though not extremely, artistic). Generally those don’t correlate, apparently.

        What it amounts to in practice for me, I guess, is that I’m “open” to new art or experiences if they don’t disgust me. Lol.

        SJ, Esquire

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

      • I think that Openness is not a real personality trait and it’s just measuring proleness or lack thereof.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

    • Kincade’s art is all a lie. He offers a fairy-tale world of warm nostalgia without death and suffering. It is art for fat middle aged women.

      Peter Akuleyev

      December 12, 2017 at EDT am

      • Not necessarily a bad thing. Some people are quite satisfied with warm nostalgia.

        Peter

        ironrailsironweights

        December 12, 2017 at EDT am

  2. Kinkade’s stuff looks like those black velvet paintings they sell at flea markets.

    toomanyspiders

    December 11, 2017 at EDT am

    • You’re obviously never seen Kinkade’s work. It looks nothing like anything painted on black velvet. Are you an artist or painter? I am. KInkade was a very skilled and experienced artist. His work displays a high level of ability.

      You may now resume your status-signaling. Don’t forget to mention the inbred hillbillys in Appalachia.

      Robert the Wise

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • The colors are garish and his depictions blotchy, and bad perspective. I wouldn’t buy it even on a postcard. Bierstadt looks very different to me, better color, perspective, detail, more elegant overall.

        toomanyspiders

        December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • Robert, toomanyspiders says in the comments to the previous post that he’s into comic book art, so I don’t think he’s status-signalling.

        toomanyspiders, do you ever go to that Ganas (Everything Goes) Cafe on Bay Street where they have the open mike stuff? My S.I. friend and I call it “the Cult Cafe”. An old hippie playing sea shanties or something on stage with a couple of other old hippies actually keeled over with some kind of heart problem after a song and had to be taken away by ambulance.

        Garr

        December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • Check Bierstadt’s- they look a lot like Kincaide.

      Lion o' the Turambar

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

  3. The artwork is kitschy and garish, but harmless. The left prefers ugly art that is harmful.

    fakeemail

    December 11, 2017 at EDT am

    • “The artwork is kitschy and garish, but harmless.”

      kitschy: a made-up word used by hipsters to show that they’re better than everyone else.

      garish: obtrusively bright and showy; lurid.

      Even a cursory examination will reveal that Thomas Kinkade’s artwork was anything but garish, it was the opposite.

      Heaven forbid us proles should try to bring a little beauty into our homes at a reasonable price.

      “The left prefers ugly art that is harmful.”

      You got that part right, at least.

      Robert the Wise

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • “kitschy: a made-up word used by hipsters to show that they’re better than everyone else.”

        “Kitsch” predates hipsters by decades.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • “Kitsch” is a perfectly good German word borrowed into English.

        Anthony

        December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • Heaven forbid us proles should try to bring a little beauty into our homes at a reasonable price.

        He had a giant marketing machine behind him and sold his paintings to gullible proles in mall stores at huge markups over what the paintings sold for on the secondary market.

        Magnavox

        December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • Everything sold in stores is at a huge markup over their second-hand value.

        Compared to how much money modern artists like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst make from selling their crap, Kinkade was only a piker.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • You know who else liked the word “kitsch”? Yeah, that guy. Hitler accused Jews of producing 90% of the “kitsch” Germans were consuming. Although arguably, Hitler started life as a hipster…

        Peter Akuleyev

        December 12, 2017 at EDT am

      • “Everything sold in stores is at a huge markup over their second-hand value.”

        Except for guns and Toyota Tacoma pickups.

        Peter

        ironrailsironweights

        December 12, 2017 at EDT am

      • I agree that cars and guns are both examples of things with a strong secondary market. I guess you could add houses to that list.

        But nearly all other consumer goods have no resale value.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 12, 2017 at EDT am

    • They don’t like guys like Frazetta either, another objectively super skilled painter. His D&D flavored stuff could be called “ugly” and certainly not kitsch.

      The more important thing seems to maybe be they hate stuff that they could obviously never succeed at? Hence the love for Warhol and Jackson Pollock and Roy Lichtenstein? You can pretend in your mind that you could have made that (probably true). You just needed the idea and some time. It’s the same with how the weirdo urban art set often likes crappy punk and electronica with a low skill bar to produce. These people aren’t into modal jazz or symphonies.

      bobbybobbob

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • To me Kincade looks like Frazetta with all the cool stuff stripped out.

        Peter Akuleyev

        December 12, 2017 at EDT am

  4. The signer of the 1999 letter is one “Flash Light.” I think it’s totally wrong for the Times to publish a letter with a stupid fake name like that. I tried looking up who this “performance artist” is and I had no success, but the name Annie Sprinkle came up because one of her acts was to spread her legs apart & ask her audiences to view her pussy with a flash light.

    She’s a crazy Jewish lesbian who defrauded audience and the government for years. She wasn’t directly funded but the venues she “performed” at were. Gingrich and his band of cucks used this in their first iteration of drain the swamp. I forget what he called it. Drain the tub, or some such.

    gothamette

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • all endeavors where perverts are over-represented should be avoided. perhaps the rich patrons of the arts are closet perverts themselves. i bet weinstein has an art collection. sad!

      Flying Guillotine

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • What about Gudonov (I had to google him)?
      Also, half of Boro Park has blue eyes. The little kids are all blond and blue-eyed.

      Garr

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • OK, you googled him so I dont’ have to explain who he was. He became quite famous for a while in the US – fame is fleeting, alas. Anyway when he was on top, a rival to Baryshnikov, a US reporter asked him what’s the difference between Russian women and American women and he smiled & said, “They’re the same – thank God.” It was very sweet.

        Poor guy lost his country, his bearings, and his mind, and his God, and died of alcohol poisoning in a foreign country. RIP, Mr. Gudonov.

        gothamette

        December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • Check this out, Gothamette — he comments here sometimes and is non-malevolent, I promise you:
        https://colonyofcommodus.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/worshiping-white-women-is-a-losing-strategy-for-the-dissident-right/
        Okay, not Iggy Pop and probably not Gal Gadot, so I’m guessing you’re one of these three: Tim Curry, Bette Midler, or the actress who played Peggy Bundy …?

        Garr

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

      • I don’t know what that link signifies. I don’t agree with this anyway: “Women by their very natures are not truly members of any people.”

        Bullshit. Women are the chief creators and conservers of culture. In revolutionary societies only women maintain the old religion, clothing, and cooking styles.

        gothamette

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

    • “one of her acts was to spread her legs apart & ask her audiences to view her pussy with a flash light.”

      Sounds like something Snooki of The Jersey Shore would do!

      maryk

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • Snooki had a sort of sweet innocence about her….never saw the show, though. Annie Sprinkle was just a hustler.

        gothamette

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

      • Right, Snooki’s cuteness was what made her so popular.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

  5. surprising update from ResetEra: Most “Setters” (yeah I know, not as good as “Gaffers” but that’s what they call themselves now) are now saying that the Russia stuff will NOT take down Trump. This is in response to the widespread de-legitimization of Mueller that has been going on from all right of center media over the last week or so. Also the way Republicans have rallied around Moore.

    There is no despair on ResetEra, but for the first time it seems like the majority gets that Trump isn’t going to just go away and that The Resistance is gonna need to did in for the long haul.

    This should make ResetEra much more readable which means I will be able to get you guys more frequent updates.

    Otis the Sweaty

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • They’re trying the girls now.

      gothamette

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • This is in response to the widespread de-legitimization of Mueller that has been going on from all right of center media over the last week or so.

      Time for Trump to eject Mueller?

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • They’re trying the girls now.

      That means they know Mueller is a bust – zero charges related to “collusion” while obstruction charges for firing Comey are very legally dubious.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

  6. Given his wholesome image it’s rather ironic that he drank himself to death.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • maybe he knew he was a fraud.

      Flying Guillotine

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • “fraud”? Fraud in what way? Thomas Kinkade was a successful professional artist who paid his dues on the way up.

        Also, alcoholism is a disease. It’s not something people ask for.

        Robert the Wise

        December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • it occurs to me that you may not be kidding.

        addiction is no more a disease than obesity. it’s hard to quit. it’s hard to lose weight. but people do it without any medical help. both addiction and obesity are the result of a toxic environment, a sick society, not sick individuals. the same is true of most psychiatric diagnoses. it’s ideology. if the society is pathological its rulers must be doing a really bad job. can’t be. disavow.

        ron burgundy.

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

      • because no one will read it…

        there is one grave proviso regarding addiction and quitting.

        it’s rare even among the worst drunks, but there are a few deaths per year. like rabies.

        withdrawal from EtOH can kill you. bix knows.

        benzos and barbiturates are the ONLY other drugs for which this is the case.

        i know of one instance where the drunk was “treated”…

        and died, because the frauds didn’t know.

        jeremy "the horse" holmes

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

  7. “Art” is a classical term for “skill.” The whole point of an artist is to demonstrate an ability that no one else can easily duplicate. That is the baseline of what makes one an “artisan.”

    The left will re-learn truth, beauty and goodness in the re-education camps. It’s important to make them live up to their standards.

    map

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • Oops…

      I did not read your post on contemporary art before I wrote this.

      map

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

  8. bierstadt? pshaw! i am the greatest landscape painter of all time.

    Flying Guillotine

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

  9. Haters gonna hate. Many artists dislike Jeff Koons who more or less is a higher ordered Kinkade.

    http://www.vulture.com/2013/05/age-of-jeff-koons.html

    I always find topics like this fascinating to witness the inner tension between the ardent advocates of democracy with the disdain for the taste of the masses.

    A Dilettante

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • British conservative philosopher Roger Scruton, who made a documentary titled “Why Beauty Matters,” described Koons’ work as “kitsch with sugar on top.”

      Vince

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • Jeff Koons makes what appear to be balloon animals.

      Rosenmops

      December 12, 2017 at EDT am

  10. Ryan Lizza, the New Yorker journo who got Anthony Scaramucci fired by leaking their conversation, just got caught up in the Weinsteining.

    Revenge of the Mooch!

    IHTG

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • Didn’t Scaramucci not know to put the conversation off the record?

      Magnavox

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • There is speculation that Roger Stone is behind a number of these outings.

      Isnt The Mooch a Roger Stone guy?

      Lion o' the Turambar

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • Mario Batali is down too.

      These guys can all form a company together. Lots of talent.

      gothamette

      December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

      • And Anthony Bourdain had the tip off in advance on his Twitter feed that the Batali story was breaking this week.

        There seems to be a awful lot of sub-news going on where some people know the inside scoop and exactly when the media is going to be playing which cards and in which order.

        As a small, and explicable, example of this look at the carefully orchestrated way the Democratic senators got together to coordinate the release of their statements on Franken in a press maximizing order. There is a lot of backstage stuff going on….

        Lion o' the Turambar

        December 12, 2017 at EDT am

      • Yes, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

        Bourdain’s GF is that Italian chick (Asia something) who was allegedly Weinsteined.

        He’s a hard core lefty who has turned into Cotton Mather WRT sex harassment.

        gothamette

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

  11. O/T apologies.
    In the truth is stranger than fiction department:

    Bruce Ohr, the attorney at DOJ demoted because of his ties with Fusion GPS (the dirty dossier provider) has a wife.

    That wife worked for Fusion GPS.

    On the Trump dirty dossier.

    Honey, bring the popcorn!

    gda

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

  12. A true radical cannot recognize “art” one way or the other. All “things” are illusions including the debate over “what is art?”

    Kinkade’s WORK essentially projects a vision of the perfect home.

    One is to step into his world and feel at home in a most idealized manner.

    Of course, his work IS A RACIAL artifact, nonetheless.

    And to the radical autonomist suffering from severe identity crisis, such projected visions of a perfect home from a racialised perspective offers up feelings of rage and utter anguish.

    “High art critics” are, by definition, radical autonomists (deracinated and dispirited), knowingly and purposely detached and disinterested in any oppressive and bigoted conception of “art.”

    So “high art critics” panning Kinkade’s artwork are self-refuting knowing neither HIGH art, work nor high artwork.

    thordaddy

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

  13. Kinkade is (was talented) – but the real deal in American art of that type was Terry Redlin. He has many paintings, I bought a jigsaw puzzle with one of them as the subject last year (it portrayed some people in a Model T or some similar car from the 1930s, driving up to visit their family home near Christmas time – a pine tree out front with Christmas lights, a gentle cover of snow on the rooftops and on the fence along the driveway – the family home, welcoming lights aglow, is up a beautiful wooded driveway with the simple tracks of the old fashioned car in the snow, there is a happy dog almost jumping for joy on the lighted front porch and happy gently aged people caught in the moment of realizing that their children are visiting for Christmas, and across the beautifully drawn dark river that you can see in the middle distance there is a city that looks a little bit like Pittsburgh would look if Pittsburgh were the most beautiful gray and silver little city in the world, which, for some people, at some moments in their life, it is). (The puzzle is called “And Crown Thy Good with Brotherhood,” from “White Mountain Puzzles” – it is part of their exclusive collection from the Master of Memories, i.e., Terry Redlin – and while there are certainly other Masters of Memories, this guy is the real deal).

    Obviously Titian (known, inter alia, for divinely inspired and detailed landscapes – typically in the backgrounds of his portraits and mythological scenes) not to mention Leonardo (the background of the Mona Lisa is amazing, as are all the backgrounds of all his paintings) and Raphael (the skyscapes and the hills in his paintings are basically what heaven would look like if heaven were Mediterranean. maybe it is) and Botticelli (skys, hills, trees on hills) would look at a Kinkade or a Redlin and see things we do not see. They would see what Kinkade or Redlin thought they saw, and would have, if asked, been able to paint the image better, more true to the world God created.

    Still, Kinkade and Redlin were talented. I would not hang their paintings on my wall, but they were talented.

    Last time I said something about art on this site there was a rude comment from someone who does not like art. I was surprised at that, usually the commenters here are respectful and polite.

    howitzer daniel

    December 11, 2017 at EDT pm

    • The “respectable” art that Kincade’s work most resembles is 18th century rococo. Bright splashy colors, a misty atmosphere, the obsessive coupling of civilization with nature — artful buildings set amid verdant landscapes — it’s all there. If you were to take Fragonard’s “The Swing” and imagine what a late 20th century American artist would do with the same sensibility, I’m not sure that Kincade’s work is far off the mark.

      That said, 18th century rococo is probably the most repellent phase of Western art until the modernists came along.

      Richard

      December 12, 2017 at EDT am

    • Interesting comment. My impression, looking at googled images of Kinkade’s and Redlin’s paintings, is that there’s something constricted about them — these seem to be very small, contained, crowded worlds. Kinkade’s paintings are more soft and glowy; Redlin’s are more geometric, with sharper outlines.

      Rudeness online comes easily because people don’t seem real and enduring — they’re just made of the letters that constitute their on-screen pseudonyms. Also, people often go online when they’re tired and disconcerted, and so are prone to get annoyed at everything they see. When you talk to someone in real life it doesn’t bother you as much when he says things that seem Fucked Up and Wrong, because you can see from his facial expression that he’s not malevolent.

      Garr

      December 12, 2017 at EDT am

      • Garr, gotta say that you come up with some interesting observations.

        Pour moi,I think both Kinkade & Redlin are crap. They can draw, but that’s about it. I only respect artists with drawing chops, by the way, but there’s gotta be more.

        I once overheard two Hispanic boys in the old Pearl Paint store on Canal Street discussing what Bob Ross told them to buy. I think that guys like Ross are good to get tough Hispanic boys to paint. I love that. It brings out my old Communist side.

        But I have to draw the line somewhere.

        Now, modern art is about ugliness or in the case of Warhol, vacuity. They are just whackos, thugs and perverts, expressing their inner whacko-thug-pervert emotions. All bad, all the time.

        gothamette

        December 12, 2017 at EDT pm

  14. Lion, what happened to your New York photo essays? I quite liked them.

    SD

    December 12, 2017 at EDT am

    • I liked those too —

      Graf von Jung

      December 12, 2017 at EDT am

      • yes, we want to see more of your photography, lion!

        rivelino

        December 17, 2017 at EDT am

  15. Isn’t the correct definition of “art” anything produced by someone under an artistic impulse? Good art, that is much more difficult to define.

    CamelCaseRob

    December 12, 2017 at EDT am

  16. what a pretentious letter.

    rivelino

    December 17, 2017 at EDT am


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