"Kinkade differs from his fellow gilded ghetto dwellers of fine-art collectible land, however, in that his work makes no token concessions to modernist and postmodernist reorderings of visual language. Overtly, even militantly sentimental (like his idol Norman Rockwell), Kinkade's detailed workmanlike renditions of traditional quasiluminist landscapes, inhabited by homely cottages and stone lighthouses, neatly bisected by babbling brooks and waterfalls, and track-lit from heaven through a conveniently parting storm-front, are quintessentially picturesque. That is, they are pictures that look like scenes that look like pictures. With the licensing of furniture, linens, chinaware, and housing designed to look like it came out of a Kinkade painting (in addition to the more typical licensing of giftware bearing reproductions of an artist's imagery) the layers of simulation become thick enough to conceal the source. The camouflaged invisibility of sentimental pictorialism in our visual culture, where the pathetic fallacy can only penetrate the art world through the orifice of ironic appropriation, while at the same time almost saturating the ground of popular visual culture—television, movies, and advertising—is the loophole Kinkade and his corporate associates intend to stretch wide enough to free us all."
Read the rest of Cottage Industry (originally published in Art issues.) here, or buy Heaven on Earth, the catalogue for Kinkade's first (and only?) museum exhibit, curated by Jeffrey Vallance, here.
Top image: My (incomplete) Kinkade spicerack.