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Art Appreciation 101

March 08, 1992

Regarding "The Grand Acquisitor," Suzanne Muchnic's profile of George Goldner, curator of drawings and paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum (Feb. 23):

Goldner makes one very good point about art objects--"all objects are not equal"--and one very bad point about people--"everyone cannot appreciate art equally."

It is sad that someone in his position should be so disdainful of the public. He seems to have forgotten that the responsibilities of a curator involve not only collecting but also interpreting works of art, which is a process of education.

Art is a visual language that reflects cultural values. It is no more elitist than writing, math or science and is accessible to anyone who can learn a language or understand history. If the general public shows a failing in appreciating fine art, it is because of shortcomings in our education system and not to a fundamental flaw within people at large.

Muchnic overlooks one important point about Goldner's tenure at the Getty: Although he has made a number of fine acquisitions, he has shown relatively little interest in organizing major loan exhibitions that would deepen people's understanding of art and instruct rather than astound the public.

MICHAEL ZAKIAN

Long Beach

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