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Art & Original Intent

August 16, 1987

Perhaps we should have been more specific in our original letter to Calendar concerning Times art critic William Wilson's review of the L.A. County Museum of Art exhibit, "Russia, the Land, the People" (Letters Annex, Aug. 2).

This may have prevented the points we wished to make from being misconstrued. Namely, that Wilson has a poor track record when it comes to expressing positive opinions concerning academic realist art (circa, 1850-1920). The Russian show falls precisely into this time period.

What may come as a surprise to William Bradshaw (Calendar Letters, Aug. 9) is that we can and do appreciate styles and periods of art other than academic, including the examples cited in his response to our original letter. We are well aware of all the artists Bradshaw mentioned in his rebuttal. However, we are writing specifically about Russian academic art. We liked the Russian show and felt Wilson didn't review it fairly.

Incidentally, we have spent 10 to 20 years "really looking at art," as Bradshaw so proudly implies that he himself has done. We know whereof we speak and simply choose to defend this particular period of art. That does not make us "lazy viewers of art."

Instead of restricting his criticisms to the principles involved, Bradshaw has instead resorted to attacking our artistic integrity. Wilson achieved the same result with his now infamous remark concerning a poor, beleaguered woman from Dubuque.

We find it interesting, though not surprising, that Bradshaw's letter, which basically supports Wilson's original review, was printed on the main page of Calendar Letters, with a box around it, no less. Our dissenting viewpoint was banished to the literary Siberia of Calendar's interior pages.




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