I am joining in the tirade of commentary regarding the 60 minutes
broadcast last Sunday of Tom Kincade....
60 Minutes, for whatever reason, chose to popularize the production
mill that was established by Kincade and his factory line production
company, that is producing his 'original' works of art at a rate that has
purportedly out distanced the quantity of work produced by any artist to
date. These cutesy (whimsical seems to be too dignified of a term), pieces
go for 100s to 1000s of dollars apiece, although they are only prints of
singleton pieces that were highlighted with a few brushstrokes of paint to
create a raised surface.
What caught my attention more than the artwork itself, were the comparisons
that were made during the show, comparing this person's work to recognized
masters of the field. At one point Kincade is comparing himself to Picasso,
although basing his success on the fact that he knows what people like:
commercial success being equated with artistic excellence. In another
segment, two ardent Kincade collectors are fawning over their 100+ works
collected over a 9 month period of time, stating that they didn't need any
kind of education about the art, they knew what they liked and that was all
that was necessary. They did not need the opinion of any art critic or
scholar to point out the value of an artist's work. No wonder education
levies are failing all over the place. In addition to the anti educational
aspects of art, there seem to an evangelical bent to this process as well.
Kincade, after mass signing a stack of his 'factory fresh' works, addresses
an audience of buyers with the remarks that he of course has prayed over
each and every one of the paintings that are being sold. This, of course,
raising the moral value of the work as well.
In the 'spirit' of Walt Disney, Kincade goes on to draw further parallels
between his own success and that of others, including the creator of the
Mickey Mouse icon, by explaining how his company is now engaged in creating
furnishings and even houses to compliment the 'artworks' , advancing the
'Kincade' theme park concept.
I envision 'Kincade Malls' springing up around the country as a
further development along this track of consumerism run amok, in order to
more easily facilitate the sale of the above-mentioned items. The list of
items for sale could be almost limitless, featuring such things as logo
identifiable clothing, china (or perhaps plastic dishes), emblazoned with
Kincade images, frozen food items meant to be served in Kincade designed
kitchens, power tools designed to be neatly arranged in Kincade built
garages, and so on.
Mind you, my objection is not to the entrepreneurial spirit that is
being exercised and perhaps even being brought to a new level of
sophistication (or banality depending on your perspective), but to even
begin to pretend that this is in someway analogous to fine art is a gross
misrepresentation of what art is all about.
A class in aesthetics and art history is definitely in order.....