Thomas Kinkade and the Democratization of Art

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thomas Kinkade, the self-appointed "Painter of Light," died last Friday. In the days since his passing, the debate that surrounded him when he was alive has grown even louder. On the one side are the art establishment, who look down their noses at Kinkade’s shopping mall galleries, mass-produced product lines, and highly saturated images of simpler times. On the other side are Kinkade’s fans, who see his work as inspiring and accessible. Was Kinkade a great democratizer of art or a charlatan businessman? Susan Orlean penned one of the most comprehensive pieces ever written on Thomas Kinkade for the New Yorker in 2001, entitled "Art for Everybody."


Susan Orlean

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [6]

Mila from New York City

Apocalyptica's "Beautiful"! A revelation! Please sample it on the show!

Apr. 10 2012 10:26 PM
Michael Noga from Boston, MA

To me, art in any format will yield new insights after repeated encounters.

Apr. 10 2012 11:47 AM
Betty Dove from Brooklyn

What is art? Jackass @ MOMA........beautiful...

Apr. 10 2012 08:47 AM
Lynn Brown from Brooklyn, NY

A great work of art supports a multitude of deep interpretations. It confounds, prompts and fires our imagination in ways that excite, comfort and challenge us all at once. Finally, I think it resists simple categorization.

Apr. 10 2012 08:25 AM
Caroline french from Dover NH

Perspective: Kinkade fits in to the popular art of every generation. Currier and Ives hung in all middle class houses for most of the 19th century.Maxfield Parrish, Bessie Gutmann, Sawyer pictures, R. Atkinson Fox, Wallace Nutting are his 20th c. American roots. All of these popular artists used the technology of the day. Kinkade is part of the continuum of popular art that hung in cottages, farms and later suburban ranch houses.

NH antiques dealer

Apr. 10 2012 07:16 AM
Ken Buxton from Ridgewood, Nj

Local Brooklyn artist Steve Keene mass produces fun art for the masses. I own 30 or 40 pieces, purchased at prices from $2 to $10, I love his double images of subjects, as in Warhol's Marilyn.

Apr. 10 2012 07:07 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.