Last month we asked if Jon McNaughton was the right artist to take Thomas Kinkade's place in American culture and decided that it was not a good fit: McNaughton's much more concerned with ranting than actually painting. No, the next Painter of Light cannot be somebody with too many complex ideas. He needs to present something as familiar and easy to pull on as the cozy fall sweaters you're currently pulling out of your dresser drawers. The work should be ubiquitous and unchallenging, suitable for Facebook. And if you support our current president you already may have clicked 'like' on the work of one such artist already, that is [...]
As we discussed last month, the passing of the Painter of Light left a huge Thomas Kinkade-sized hole in the American cultural landscape. Was he merely an outlier, or is there another Kinkade out there ready to occupy the same territory? Who, if anyone, can we look to as a successor?
Now, there are plenty of artists who can give Kinkade a run for his money in the "hearth and home" department. Too many, really. Richard Burns' impossibly idyllic cottages look as if they were sculpted out of sherbet. Sung Kim's scenes tap into the primal human urge for scratch n' sniff. But when you look [...]
The Australian art critic and historian Robert Studley Forrest Hughes died yesterday at the age of just 74. He'd withstood such a lot, coming back after weeks in a coma following a terrible car accident in Australia in 1999. I thought he was so strong that he would still live to be 100. Part of his name, even, was 'Studley'! And that is just what he was.
What is the best thing Hughes ever did? How to choose from this embarrassment of riches? The obvious answer would be his stately, gorgeously comprehensive history of the convict settlement of Australia, The Fatal Shore (1987). Equally obvious: the 1980 TV [...]