Dispatches | July 18, 2007
Living in the Kinkade-Hood
One’s person’s kitsch is another person’s art, a fact that was most evident to me when I was attending college in Branson, Missouri in the early ‘80s. First there are the Hee Haw-style country music shows with their religious and patriotic jingoism. The area also celebrates the illustrator Rose O’Neill, who retired there in the ‘40s. Her DQ-swirl-headed Kewpies are for sale in every gift shop up and down the ’76 Strip. And if, for some reason, you’re a fan of big-headed babies, drive a couple of hours north to the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage.
I thought I had escaped kitschville when I moved to Columbia, Missouri. But today, I read in a local magazine that a new housing development is underway of Thomas Kinkade Masterpiece Homes. Of course you’ve seen his paintings; they adorn upscale doctor’s and dentist’s office everywhere. His sugary world view of English thatched-roofed cottages nestled among snow-capped firs rendered in a palette of baby-aspirin pinks, mauves, and cornflower blues is enough to rot your teeth. It’s a kind of fake, forced, disingenuous beauty that dispirits the soul.
Move over Seaside, Florida, the real-life town that served as the creepy Americana setting for The Truman Show, and Celebration, Florida, a town designed by Disney–Columbia, Missouri’s got Kinkade Land.
According to the promotional material, buyers can select from houses inspired by one of sixteen paintings, most from his cottage series, including “A Peaceful Time,” “Hollyhock House,” and “Lamplight Lane.” The developers promise that families will feel as if they’ve stepped into the canvas.
Give me a Wright, a Gehry, or even a Gaudi, but please keep your Kinkade.
SEE THE ISSUE
Feb 28 2020
2020 Miller Guest Judge in the Spotlight: Alex Sujong Laughlin
2020 Miller Audio Prize Guest Judge Alex Sujong Laughlin shares her journey to becoming an audio producer, the lens through which she sees the world, and how TikTok makes her
Oct 15 2019
Last Call for Submissions to the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize
The LASY DAY to enter TMR‘s Editors’ Prize has arrived And with it, the last call. The 29th Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize Contest closes tonight! You have the rest of
Mar 08 2019
Interview with 2019 Miller Audio Prize Guest Judge Cher Vincent
Our guest judge this year, Cher Vincent (she/her), is an audio producer based in Chicago. She is currently Lead Audio Producer for One Illinois, a nonprofit news outlet, covering statewide news and producing