YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsO7

Groucho Marxist

May 11, 1986

Does Elizabeth Venant mean to say that all "conceptual work, combining image and text" is to be associated with Marxist theory ("Portrait of an Art School in Ferment," May 4)? It sounds that way.

However, she didn't ask me anything about my practice and I've been working with image and text since 1967.

To be fair to Venant, she surely would know better than to include the Egyptians' hieroglyphics in such a generalization. Nor Grunewald, whose "Eisenheim Altarpiece" renders the words of St. John the Baptist alongside the crucified body of Jesus Christ. Nor Edward Hicks, whose paintings of the Peaceable Kingdom abound with passages from the Bible. Then there's Gauguin's "Whence Come We?," "What Are We?" and "Whither We Go?" and Magritte's "This Is Not a Pipe," etc., etc.

I think that Venant would have been on safer ground to have concerned herself with how one can visually identify a Marxist theorist. I could have helped her on that score: They tend to favor horn-rimmed reading glasses.


Faculty, School of Art

CalArts, Valencia

If anyone out there can explain in 100 words or less--in English--what the Marxist theory of art is, or how it's applied, we'll fly them to Chernobyl for this fall's potato fest.

Los Angeles Times Articles