Posted 23 December 2010 - 11:14 AM
I tend to think it's a class thing. I was reading an article on the reception that Kate Middleton is getting among many class-conscious Britons since her engagement to Prince William. In Britain, her status is as a commoner, not a royal, and some people are upset at the mixing of common and royal blood. In Britain, class is about birth and breeding. Americans don't have the same view of class; though we do have class distinctions, they are based more in money, education, and tastes than in birth. And of course, in America, you can change classes fairly easily.
Think about it - if you're an American, can you call to mind a mental image of a person who would have pink flamingo statues and lawn gnomes on their front yard? Perhaps a wooden cutout that resembles the backside of a heavyset woman bending over to do her gardening? Call that person to mind, now go inside their home. Would you be surprised to find a Kinkade painting in their home?
Americans like to protest that we are not class conscious, but we are, just in different ways. That's not to say there's no such thing as objectively better or worse art. But "taste" is often shaped by what class a person lives in - and what class they want to shun or avoid. Christian intellectuals and artists often want to shun their lower-class backgrounds, and aspire to be part of the "elite." I think the strong dislike of Kinkade's paintings stems - in part - from this impulse.