Saturday, August 27, 2011

Artist against The Real

You know how I'm always saying that you can tell modern art (sic) is crap because everyone hates it?

Well, one can take that too far the other way.

It is never to be forgotten that this ... err... person... is the most popular artist in the world.

Particularly with Evangelical Christians.

Simcha Fisher gives a hint to why the latter might be. Prots have no concept of sacramentality and, having abandoned the reasoning behind their beliefs, are left, for the most part, with nothing but the ersatz spirituality of their deeply felt feelings:

Kinkade isn’t content
with shying away from ugliness: He sees nothing beautiful in the world the way it is. He thinks it needs polishing. He loves the world in the same way that a pageant mom thinks her child is just adorable—or will be, after she loses ten pounds, dyes and curls her hair, gets implants, and makes herself almost unrecognizable with a thick layer of make-up. Normal people recoil from such extreme artifice—not because they hate beauty, but because they love it.

Kinkade-style light doesn’t show an affection for natural beauty—it shows his disdain for it. His light doesn’t reveal, it distorts. His paintings aren’t merely trivial, they’re a statement of contempt for the world.

His vision of the world isn’t just tacky, it’s anti-Incarnational.

I thought, simply, that if one is interested in presenting an idealised view of the real world, one must at least make one's starting point the actual real world.

Which is why I love the idealised realism of, say, a Maxfield Parrish or a William Bouguereau, and despise the gloppy sentimentalism of Thomas Kinkade.



Gregory said...

Kudos to you and to Simcha Fischer for a valiant attempt to describe the indescribably awful.

Teresa B. said...

I do like my Dollar Store Kinkade-ish placemats though.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...



I have funny readers.

Mike Cliffson said...

I kinda like Norman Rockwell ever since my (NZ, UKresident)aunt took to getting Saturday Evening Post from someone stateside late 50s early sixties.
Still do.
Redolent of American exceptionalism, wide horizons, rantless ....
Am I beyond the pale? U? NonU? PC or PinC? Yew or Non YEW? Philistine?

Anonymous said...

He should illustrate for The Watchtower - they'd love it. They're about as anti-Incarnational as you can get. Well, amongst the weirdo sects, that is.


Anonymous said...

I see what you mean. Compare that to:

hjw said...

I love Rockwell.

Anonymous said...

You might find this presentation on beauty, which includes a critique of Kincade, interesting.

John Ashley
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

DP said...

Rockwell is idealized, not fantasy. The people portrayed--and it's important to note that he was almost exclusively a portrait artist--looked like real people. You feel like you are stepping into a real moment when you look at his work. Sure, almost always a happy or humorous one (hence the idealized), but one populated with people in real settings.

Rockwell was a true great, and there is nothing "anti-Incarnational" about him. Not so by the way, his stock has been rising even among the artistic hol-polloi, at least with those who run world-class American museums. I took my family to see the Rockwell exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts a few years ago, and the curator, who was delighted to host the stop on the tour, sheepishly admitted that there was no way Rockwell would have gotten the red-carpet treatment 15-20 years ago. But here he was.

Martial Artist said...


The recognition of Rockwell's artistic talents is sadly much overdue.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

Ingemar said...

At least one Evangelical isn't letting Kinkade off easy:

hyoomik said...

I once walked into a Kinkade gallery in Toronto. Parts of paintings glowed when the lights were low. But I like glow-in-the-dark rosaries much better.
(verification alitichl)

Young fogey emeritus said...

Hooray for Parrish (saw an exhibit) and Rockwell. I also like the Pre-Raphaelites a lot. Thanks for explaining what's off about Kinkade's work.

Anonymous said...

Is it some kind of rule that to have a conservative religious blog, you have to do a post about how much you hate Thomas Kincaide? I gotta say, I go about my daily life and there is no Thomas Kincaide in it so I don't really get worked up about him. The only time I ever notice Thomas Kincaide is when some blogger I read is complaining about his cottages and stuff. - Karen

Anonymous said...

Also, I don't really like Rockwell, except for this one:

- Karen