February 2007 Letters to the Editor
Comments from readers on the last issue of Minnesota Monthly
Lack of Perspective
You posed the question in your December issue (“Rejects d’Art,” December): “Why won’t the art world embrace the state’s classical-realist artists?”
Richard Lack (an artist I respect, by the way) began with a perfectly good premise: that much craftsmanship and drawing was going by the wayside and needed to be preserved. He was right about that. However, he became a demagogic extremist: our way is the only way. The artistic equivalent to the Religious Right or Islam. How anyone could suggest that all artistic progress ended with the Italians or the Dutch I don’t understand. Would the Lackies deny us the wonders of Cézanne, van Gogh, and Klimt? Apparently so.
The atelier system produces mental cripples who no longer look inside. That is their bankruptcy. They have so many “don’ts” inside their heads that they are not free to be anymore. This is the atelier: you must “break” students and remake them. A certain death to any artistic soul.
This kind of naysaying to human nature should be extinguished. The sooner, the better. Most of the atelier devotees have invested so much in this nonsense that they can’t admit they made a wrong turn. I don’t feel sorry for them.
The Big Picture
Your article on classical realism (“Rejects d’Art,” December) was a very good description of an important art movement whose center of activity was clearly Minnesota during much of the latter half of the 20th century. However, your article stops just before all of the activity of the last seven years, during which there has been a major shift in activity, interest, and achievement in favor of classical realism.
The Art Renewal Center (ARC) started online in November 2000 with the largest online museum anywhere (www.artrenewal.org)—currently more than 61,000 images of history’s greatest masters and masterpieces. In 2001, ARC certified 14 atelier schools in America and Europe, several from the Gammell/Lack lineage. The list of ARC-approved schools has now grown to 64, with more than 2,200 students. Three years ago, we started the ARC salon; nearly 1,900 entrants were judged in our 2006 competition.
Fred Ross, Chairman,
Art Renewal Center
Port Reading, New Jersey
State of Confusion
I just finished reading the article about the Top 40 moments that changed Minnesota in your December issue. I was very shocked and surprised that you talk about Grand Forks in the article about the Red River Flood of 1997. Grand Forks is in North Dakota. East Grand Forks is in Minnesota. I would have thought since you were writing about Minnesota, the article would be about the Minnesota cities that were affected by the flood. Not North Dakota. I thought the name of the magazine was Minnesota Monthly.
Dean M. Anderson
East Grand Forks
I had to write to tell you how much I enjoyed January’s 1st-Person Singular, “Fame? It’s a Mystery,” by Mary Jo Pehl. This column was her best to date. Not only was the writing extremely funny, the article gave a great deal of insight into the very witty television show Mystery Science Theater. Thank you for such a wonderful magazine.
Aiya (the vizsla) is so happy and excited—she saw the article on herself (“2007 Minnesota Favorites, Shop Dog,” January). She is wagging a thanks to you!