Letters for October 16, 2003

Pay, G-A

Via the Internet

And lighten up, free weekly: In response to Edmund Newton and Rebecca Meiser's August 14 story, "Plop Art": Educating the public is the key to helping them understand and appreciate the positive influence of the fine arts. Just because you do not understand the meaning of the artwork on public display does not mean it is not good or valuable.

Your "unplopular" opinions and disrespectful attitude toward the artists and their artwork has not been well-received by those who collect it. The Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida Atlantic University, and the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art are cultural institutions. These institutions exist to support education and outreach programs for people of all ages in our community.

The nonprofit fine arts industry is the third largest in the world behind construction and national defense. The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach has an annual operating budget of $50 million; that's taxable income and a thriving economic engine in our community. Popular, or "plopular" art, as you put it, imitates life and vice versa. So the artists should receive our respect and credit. Just because you do not like something does not mean it is ugly or not art.

Duane Hanson created groundbreaking works that took photorealism to another, more-exciting, three-dimensional level. His piece titled Vietnam was much more graphic and had a much greater impact on me than Oliver Stone's movie. Motorcycle Wreck is another piece that comes to mind. Hanson taught workshops at the Broward Art Guild that educated people of all ages. He supported our community and our cultural institutions. Many wealthy patrons who collect his artwork also support the Museum of Art and the Museum of Discovery and Science.

I curated for the Downtown Development Authority's "Art-in-the-Downtown" program for two years. I feel this educated the general public and improved the cultural amenities of the downtown landscape. John P. Downs Co. installed the so-called "Rice Cake" piece near the courthouse, which is actually a conceptual sculpture about time and space. John P. Downs is one of the world's largest marine fabricators and a huge U.S. military contractor. The company also saved Fort Lauderdale Beach from a horrible biological disaster by off-loading a few million gallons of crude oil from a Ukrainian tanker that ran aground in the middle of the night less than two miles off the beach a few years ago.

I feel you have a certain responsibility to educate yourselves about art before you enlighten your readers. Try to understand the intellectuals in our community that support art and pay for it. Tearing down well-respected artists and their patrons serves no one. To express your own lack of education and knowledge of the fine arts is no accomplishment.

I just thought you came off looking really ignorant. It seems nothing positive was said and no one escaped your negative wrath. If you have a cross to burn, why not ask the Museum of Art in an open letter to restore the "Hortt Competition" for local artists?

J. M. Dimitriotous, President

A.N.E.W. Foundation for the Arts

Via the Internet

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