Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thomas Kinkade, Kitsch, and Art Ad Hominem

When studying philosophy of the arts in college, I didn't really know who Thomas Kinkade was. Upon learning more, I of course recognized his work. It helped me to understand the term "kitsch." Either you love Kinkade or you hate him. There seems to be no middle ground for this very popular evangelical painter.

Two years after his passing, we're still finding reasons to talk about him, perhaps because family matters and lawsuits are still settling. But Kinkade's work certainly is a hot-button Exhibit A at the intersection of church and philosophy of the arts. Should evangelicals show undying support for a maker of kitsch who committed acts that scandalized recording artists and authors/speakers off of Christian bookstore shelves? That's just one of many big questions about the relationship between the American Church and Kinkade.


Note: The linked article's title is a bit negative and uses a few PG-13 words, but it does show a balanced view of Kinkade's reception and posthumous family and legal matters.