Monday, March 12, 2007

Coming Soon to a Multiplex Near You: Thomas Kinkade

It's hard to know which of the revelations in this story to be most surprised by. I'll let you decide:

  • Thomas Kinkade's (pictured right) company asserts it's sold $1.7 billion of artwork at retail over the past 15 years along with $2.4 billion in licensed product sales -- such as greeting cards and calendars -- over the past decade, resulting in Kinkade art being found in one out of every 10 U.S. households.
  • Lionsgate and the Firm are partnering on a feature adaptation of Thomas Kinkade's painting "The Christmas Cottage," aiming for a holiday season release.
  • Lionsgate production chief Michael Paseornek told Daily Variety that the company was attracted to making a deal with Kinkade, partly because of the accessibility of his artwork and his massive mailing list.
  • [The f]ilm, penned by Ken LaZebnick ("Prairie Home Companion"), will be partly biographical, based on how Kincade was motivated to begin his career as an artist after discovering his mother was in danger of losing the family home.
I'm speechless.

UPDATE: I see I'm late to this. Tyler pointed to this story last week.


Anonymous David said...

...Kinkade art being found in one out of every 10 U.S. households.

Aren't there people you can hire to make sure your home is free of stuff like that?

3/12/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger kurt said...

I'm glad Landru (in the Defamer comments) posted the details of one of Kinkade's brushes with the law.

Without them, his pictures are just congealed schmaltz. With them we can see that his pictures' fuzzy warmth comes from the same burning source that compelled him to "mark his territory" by urinating on a Disney statue, to show he has the moxie it takes to make it in the art (pyramid-scheme mall textured-print) biz...

3/12/2007 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous ml said...

So this will put Kincade on the same level as Van Gogh and Basquiat???

3/12/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

...compelled him to "mark his territory" by urinating on a Disney statue...

It's nice to know that he's done at least one good thing in his life.

3/12/2007 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

Hmm. I can see how an animated movie using Kinkaid "sets" could be popular, but the biographical story about how he became an artist? That doesn't make commercial sense, because the people who like Kinkaid's art aren't the type to watch documentaries that don't involve cute penguins.

3/12/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Tst, tst, tst. You guys have no appreciation for "neo" masterism.

Cedric Caspesyan

3/12/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Nathan Manuel said...

When I read about Thomas Kinkaid I am always reminded of this little John Baldessari interview that Nicole Davis did for Artnet a few years ago in which Baldessari stated -

"...if you listen to Kinkade's argument, it's exactly the same argument as Jeff Koons. Exactly. "This is what America likes." The only difference is that they operate in two different territories. Jeff operates in the avant-garde art world, and this other guy operates on the other end of the spectrum, but they talk exactly alike. He went to art school, he went to Art Center. He just figured out what America wants. They want Hallmark Cards. I thought it would be great to have a public debate with Kinkade and Koons. Well, it wouldn't be a debate. They wouldn't argue. It would just be the two of them talking. "

Here is the link -

3/12/2007 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Maybe they can get Koons to play Kinkade in the movie.

3/12/2007 05:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

I'm not sure America wants big gigantic aluminium clown elephants.

Koons is definitely centered on product-making, but he's been mixing things like no other before him, the industrial design of minimalism, the eccentricities of pop, and the references of conceptual.

Wrether we wanted that or not is irrelevant to the case that he was a desparate gesture in trying to pursue the modernist ideal of responding and staying pertinent in relation to the artists that preceded him. Trying to fulfill a synthesis right at the moment when every other artists went in all sort of directions.

For all the artists that have been called pseudo-deep and pseudo-thoughtful since, Koons really had something to say behind his mascarade, and I consider him to be a very important artist, quite underestimated intellectually, and quite the quintessence of his time too (at least for commercial scene).

A major retro is due to him in these corners...I think the whole Celebration series? Can't wait.

Cedric Caspesyan

3/13/2007 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger Hans said...

He is like Walt Disney, popular. He is the perfect product of your culture ;-D (both)

3/13/2007 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Again, for HIS time, Walt Disney was wild (hence Dali's admiration).

Kinkade, for HIS time, is redundant cuteness.

Cedric Caspesyan

3/14/2007 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Kinkade, for HIS time, is redundant cuteness.

Perhaps Hans feels that redundant cuteness is what our culture rewards. It's hard to argue with that, especially if you look at the numbers.

3/14/2007 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

What's the reward for sporadic cuteness packaged in constant smart-assery? (asking for a friend....)

3/14/2007 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

It's easy to figure out. Here's the formula:

($4.1 billion - x)/y = total reward

where $4.1 billion = total income from sales and licensing, x = non-cuteness, and y = smart-assery

3/14/2007 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

I had no idea smart-assery multiplied the bounty. My friend will find this encouraging.

3/14/2007 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Carla, sorry to break this to you, but you divide by smart-assery. Hope your friend won't be too disappointed.

3/14/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

I'm using this formula:

(4.1 billion-x)y = total reward

3/14/2007 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

If this morphs into a Math blog, I'm outta here.

3/14/2007 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

If you're going to be a conservative, you've got to start liking math :)

3/14/2007 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger prettylady said...

Koons really had something to say behind his mascarade, and I consider him to be a very important artist, quite underestimated intellectually

Cedric, I am devastated to inform you that I'm going to have to kill you, now.

I heard Jeff Koons speak in the late 80's; I thought him hilarious. While my fellow students were becoming increasingly strident, I merely laughed and walked out of the 'lecture.'

In the early 90's, when he had his retrospective at the SF MOMA, it was not funny anymore. It was gross. Quite literally; listening to him speak was like being strapped into a faux-vinyl chair and being gradually coated in caramellized boogers.

By the time I had finished viewing the exhibition, I felt physically ill. It was not merely the overwhelming, self-satisfied, kitschy vacuity of the actual artwork, but the full understanding of the opportunity costs--the acres of space and thousands of publicity-hours that were NOT being devoted to the art of people with depth, passion and substance.

At this point, Koons, far from being 'underestimated intellectually,' is regularly being given serious mention in the New Yorker, with an indefensible lack of sardonic irony.

Pretty Lady rarely develops Virulent Hatreds, but her feelings for the man Koons, and the empire which produced him, can scarcely be described in milder terms. She feels that he is perhaps THE most egregious manifestation of the spiritual rot which lies at our cultural core.

3/14/2007 04:22:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

...Koons, and the empire which produced him, can scarcely be described in milder terms. She feels that he is perhaps THE most egregious manifestation of the spiritual rot which lies at our cultural core.

EW, what do you think? Is it time for another contest? Nominations, and then a vote on Most Egregious Manifestation?

3/14/2007 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger prettylady said...

Ooo! Ooo! David! You have hit on it! In addition to her annual Courtesy Award, Pretty Lady will begin to bestow an Egregious Manifestation Award, as well. Unless dear Edward wishes to take up the onus.

3/14/2007 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Do The Math:
Total Retard = Total Reward

Pretty Lady:
>>She feels that he is perhaps THE >>most egregious manifestation of >>the spiritual rot which lies at >>our cultural core.

Haha. Come on, Koons' great!

He mocked the minimalists by doing balls in squares of water, or Carl Andre-like plates in the shapes of cartoons. He shocked pop artists by going for the extreme, (the kitschiest toys, the over-sweetened ice creams). He took readymade and casted it in high-industrial design (Fuck Duchamp(s), Fuck Beuys). He gave a new dimension to Smithson's ideas of entropy and the killing of art. He exploits childhood and adulthood material in aims to expell pure extasia. He is both very conscious of the aesthetic primordiality of art, while still being able to fulfill wild (often perverse) metaphors (seek them, there is always something sneaking behind the pieces), and conceptual delicacies (the reference to Raushenberg and Duchamp(s) in the work for the Muhammed Ali book comes to mind, with that pretentious over-happy dolphin that is able to emerge above historical artblocks. That was genuine.)

Is it spiritually rotten? Well, nothwithstanding that part of his recent works are an hommage to his child and childhood in general (4th law of wisdom: remain a child), but apart from that, Koons is quite aware that, you know...mayyyybe art is not the perfect place where one should seek out spirituality. ;-)
Just maybe.

This said...what do I consider the most egregious...hmm...I can't say it. Their art is sooo nasty you'll all think I'm a criminal for just knowing it. So I'll pass.

Cedric Caspesyan

(now reading: Exquisite Corpse, influence of the Black Dahlia murder on surrealism)

3/14/2007 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger prettylady said...

mayyyybe art is not the perfect place where one should seek out spirituality.

Or maybe both you and the K-man are vile, debased blasphemers, and will burn in Hell for all eternity.

3/14/2007 07:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Ah...Hel...Daughter of Loki, Teutonic Goddess of the dead,
one wonders who's the greatest bitch between her and Yahveh.

If you ask me, "biblic" religion
comes from men who cowardly represented evil with the images of their wives and morality with the images of their fathers.


Nevertheless. The most ancient descriptions of hell speak of a world with 8 levels. The only section where you remain eternally is the one where you refuse to repent (or prefer the enjoyments of darkness). Though it's argumented that through the Last Judgment all hells would come to a close.

So have I disarmed you by now?
Or do you still have other plans to terrorize me? ;-)


Cedric Caspesyan

3/15/2007 04:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Gordy Grundy said...

Are you kidding? This is fantastic! This opens a whole new market for artists... This LA based painter got an appointment and I made my pitch! Unfortunately, my experience did not go well... They tossed me out on my ass!
Read about it here and laugh:

3/22/2007 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger RC said...

Man, I didn't know about the mailing list playing a role in the decision to make this film.


4/11/2007 02:17:00 AM  

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