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Starving Artists

June 18, 1989

Perhaps Armand Hammer is getting more respect than he deserves.

In response to the May 28 letter from Melinda Stephens ("Oxy Art for Everyone"), who responded to your May 11 article on the use of Occidental Petroleum funds to glorify Hammer with a museum named after him, I think it is horrendous to use corporate capital in this way.

I am particularly opposed to the plan because Armand Hammer has consistently paid millions for the works of dead artists while lacking the courage, conviction and compassion to invest similar sums of money into the creations of living artists.

Hammer repeats the mistakes of those insensitive art lovers who allowed Van Gogh and others to live and die in the horrible pain of poverty.

Hammer deserves respect as a businessman for his achievements. But it is a slap in the face of living and dead artists to permit his name to be respected in the art world, when he has demonstrated such insensitivity to the plight of living artists.

RHONA DAVIS

Potomac, Md.

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