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In defense of Thomas Kinkade

"Painter of light" Thomas Kinkade, whose gallery on the Fashion Show mall on the Strip is just so perfectly Vegas -- that is, unapologetically shmaltzy -- now has a corps of intellectual defenders. And now they've got a collection of thinky essays that the art critic at The New Republic is only too happy to assail:

The entire subject of Thomas Kinkade is a nervous breakdown waiting to happen. I am not always sure whether the authors gathered together in Boylan’s collection are being grimly sincere or shamelessly ironic. I wonder if they themselves are in some doubt about this. As for the intellectual inflation that curdles so many of their arguments, it comes in forms both defensive and offensive, sometimes simultaneously. A number of contributors cannot resist the temptation to take Clement Greenberg’s old essay “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” for another spin. I find this absurd. What on earth does a piece of writing that was meant to explain the miracle of Picasso, Braque, and Mondrian have to tell us about the work of a man who, though undoubtedly full of himself and his achievement, is mostly out to make a buck? 

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