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.....