Vernacular Art Redux

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any stranger, the film industry had to go and twist around my worldview, and not in a good way. Via a chain of websites that is long and complex enough to make Rube Goldberg look like a master of direct action comes the news that a Hollywood studio plans to make a movie based on a Thomas Kinkade painting. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, have a look at my post about Gallery Admission Fees, where I attempt to give sound reasons for considering vernacular art for exhibition at contemporary art galleries. Also helpful in parsing this strange convergence is the fact that Kinkade has sold millions of copies of his paintings via malls, mail-order, and television shopping.

Yep. Self-proclaimed “Los Angeles gossip rag” Defamer reports the story in an article titled Hollywood Really, Truly Out Of Ideas: Thomas Kinkade Painting To Become Holiday Movie:

Realizing that the millions of purchasers of the shopping-mall-quality artwork of Thomas “The Painter of Light” Kinkade who spend their weekend nights avoiding the multiplex in favor of staying home to stare contentedly at the quaint tableaux upon which they’ve just spent hundred of dollars represent an untapped market for their cinematic product, the visionary executives of Lionsgate have announced that they’re adapting Kinkade’s “The Christmas Cottage” painting into a feature to be released around the holidays, according to Variety.

Apparently this is the painting. I took the image from kinkadecentral.com:

More info about the creator of this above-the-sofa-friendly image—if you really want to know—can be found in Wikipedia on Thomas Kinkade.

As noted in the above quote, Defamer gets its info from a March 8th Variety story: Lionsgate latches to Kinkade. The Variety story is almost worth a post of its own, and not because of its editor’s impeccable eye for detail. For example, the byline makes me want to hum The Kids in the Hall’s “These are the Daves I know” song (video on YouTube, lyics) while wondering if Larry from Newhart had another set of brothers:

By DAVE MCNARY, DAVE MCNARY, PAMELA MCCLINTOCK

And the frequent strange usage of the apostrophe-ess construction (‘s) irks my inner grammar nazi:

  • The project’s part of an overall film-TV producing deal…
  • Kinkade’s company asserts it’s sold $1.7 billion of artwork…
  • Casting’s underway and shooting’s starting next month…
  • LaZebnick’s repped by Metropolitan Talent Agency.

Yeesh! On all counts! I knew I shouldn’t have tried to frame vernacular art as a curatorially-relevant project. Is it too late for me to beg forgiveness?

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