NABOKV-L post 0015826, Fri, 21 Dec 2007 07:35:50 -0500

Kinbote's Bespoke Art Commentary Service ...
[image: Daddy Types, a weblog for new dads] <>


December 19, 2007 Brit Crit Makes Your Kid's Artwork Into His Artwork,
Sells It Back To You For $260 categories: art<>

[image: kinbotes_critique.jpg]

There's a populist sentiment afoot in Great Britain that considers the
entire contemporary art world to be a giant joke perpetrated on culture
generally and rich people with more money than sense in particular.

Without that setting, artist/writer Dan Crowe's
pompous-and-inept-criticism-for-pay project, Kinbote's Bespoke Art
Commentary Service would make even less sense than it already does.

For £130-190, Crowe will write a 300-500 word critique of your kid's
artwork. As the name implies, it's supposed to be in the voice of a
delusional, self-important critic like Charles Kinbote, the narrator of
Vladimir Nabokov's awesome annotated poem/novel, *Pale Fire*. Unfortunately,
the examples published so far come off sounding more like a slightly
overenthusiastic Sister Wendy impersonator.

Gawker sees the whole thing as a prank, while the Times of London appears to
take Kinbote's very seriously on its face. But the key to Crowe's project
lies in his description of the finished product:

The essay will be forwarded to you within two weeks on Smythson's paper, in
a splendid gift box, with which you will probably be quite impressed. It
will bear my signature placed regally at the end of the essay. *The essay
itself is a work of art and should be treated as such.* [emphasis added]

Whatever else it is, Kinbote's is the product of an artist who works in the
medium of children's art and analytical text instead of oil and canvas. If
you're cool with that, then it doesn't really matter how simple-minded the
faux critiques are. If you're a fan of both *Pale Fire* and art & art
writing, though, you may have a hard time seeing the Kinbote conceit as
anything more than a flimsy excuse for some trite writing.

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