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Making Taste

December 27, 1987

In "The Taste Makers" spread (Dec. 20) we have a quote from Hollywood's man-of-the-hour, "Platoon's" director Oliver Stone, who proudly answers a question about his current "small pleasures" ("A Moralist in Movieland," by Paul Rosenfield): "Art. I'm enjoying collecting pieces by Julian Schnabel and Andy Warhol."

Just inches away on the same page we have the brilliant art critic and historian Robert Hughes talking about art having to defend itself against mass-media fixation ("Art and the Alien Social Picture," by Lawrence Christon): "In America, TV--the wet-nurse of the culture--has been a disaster for the visual arts. The idea that painting has to demonstrate its up-to-dateness is willingly repeated by too many artists. . . . The market wants stars. (Julian) Schnabel's work is to painting what Stallone's is to acting."

And what Oliver Stone's is to directing???

One wonders what Hughes thought of "Platoon" or "Wall Street." Or, for that matter, what Stone thinks of Hughes' column in Time magazine or of his book about Australia, "The Fatal Shore."

Unintentionally, perhaps, this juxtaposition leaves one to believe that one can, after all, account for taste.

JOYCE GLASSER

Los Angeles

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