TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT February 1963

LETTERS

LETTERS

Sirs:
Glad your magazine is getting bigger and biger (Letters, Volume 1, number 6). Nof if your spelling will only become better and beter!

—Bob Halff
Beverly Hills

 

Sirs:
I wish to call attention to what I consider the imbalance of Mr. Philip Leider’s review of the book, “Collage: Personalities, Concepts, Techniques” by Harriet Janis and myself.

Mr. Leider devoted practically the whole of his review to disputing and ridiculing certain evaluations we made of the collage-idea (the phrase is from Max Ernst) in this century and its central and perhaps germinative role in the whole progress of modern art, ism by ism, from Cubist painting to the present-day “Environment,” “Happening,” and Pop art. To disagree with our theory is, of course, a reviewer’s privilege, and no objection is made to this.

However, the imbalance I refer to consists in the tacit assumption or inference that this evaluative theory constitutes the whole matter, theme, and contents of our book. On the contrary: this book (the first full-length history of collage) consists in the main of a careful, factual history of the development of the collage from Cubism to the present day; there is a large amount of fresh, new biographical material, most of it from our direct interviews and correspondence with scores of important artists; there I is a detailed examination of the many different materials used in collage; there is a large, comprehensive, and carefully selected group of illustrations—430 to be exact; and finally, there is an international list of important exhibitions involving the collage idea, from 1912 to 1962.

Thus, our book consists of far more than Merely theory, right or wrong, and its range and inclusiveness deserve to be called to your readers’ attention in the fair hearing supposedly to be had in any “Forum.”

Surely, if Mr. Leider had read our book carefully, or for that matter, Mr. William Seitz’s catalog-monograph. “Assemblage,” carefully, he would not distinguish between Mr. Seitz’s “assemblage idea” and our “collage idea,” for they are essentially the same and we draw essentially the same conclusions from them. Moreover, Mrs. Janis and I even used the terms “collage” and “assemblage” interchangeably throughout our book.

Finally, Mr. Leider expounds—ostensibly as his own theory—that “It was Cubism itself, in all its manifestations [that] broke with illusionist perspective for good . . .”

Strangely enough Mrs. Janis and I repeatedly said the same thing, e.g. (page 13): “The Cubists denied the space of the real world and refused to recreate it in illusion”; and (page 82): “Cubism took the first step by rejecting false perspective and photographic illusion,” etc. etc.

Even more: Mrs. Janis and I assembled a two-page sequence of eight pictures to demonstrate our idea of the development from Cubism to Happenings. This sequence begins, not with Cubist collage, but with Cubist painting, and includes most of the “manifestations” of Cubism, i.e. painting, drawing, collage, construction, and even ballet costume.

—Rudi Blesh
Hanover, New Hampshire

 

Sirs:
After reading two issues of Artforum I wonder how you protect your critics. Their colorful language is abetted with good thinking and succinct evaluations. Let us hope they do not become slurred by current Hessian thinking wheezing from New York. The old barb of localism is obliterated by such direct critical shots as “would incite howls of derision if shown under its present title in any other metropolitan center,” (American Painting, J. C. Vol. 1, #5). I envy the West Coast for having a living art publication.

—Paul Cummings
Louis Alexander Gallery
New York, N. Y.

 

Sirs:
My enthusiastic congratulations on your last issue (Vol. 1, #6). Your publication is no longer one of local flavor but one of national importance. It was long overdue, we rejoice, it’s finally here.

I enjoyed the quality of the reviews and the outspoken position taken by your reviewers in connection with museum showings. I also enjoyed the clarity with which schools of thought and artist’s ideologies were brought to public attention.

My applause to Philip Leider for the fine analysis of Bruce Conner’s work. I consider Mr. Conner an evil genius with fantastic power of expression. My admiration for his work is as great as my revulsion for it and I only wish that some one, not excluding Mr. Conner himself, could convince me that his work is prompted more by a desire of exposing a degenerated, suicidal generation, than an actual sadistic sexual involvement with the work itself.

I am fully aware of the important role your magazine will have in the cultural development of the West Coast and wish you a great success.

—Silvan Simone
West Los Angeles

 

Sirs:
I know that I join with countless others in congratulating you upon Artforum. I think it is marvelous that the voice of art will be heard from the West. It is a beautiful job, and I look forward to future copies.

—Mary Helen Hendry
President, Wyoming Artists’ Association

 

Sirs:
Why don’t you publish more articles by the noted Professor of Art from U.C.L.A., Dr. Lester Longman? Or Mr. Henry J. Seldis from the Los Angeles Times? Or Mr. George Culler from the S.F. Museum of Art? These people’s brand of writing appeals to the neglected little man who wants to know. These people are true Americans who reveal anti-American plots in Art that are fostered by the New York art world exploiters and frauds. Two of these kind of people have turned up in your magazine. They are James Monte and John Coplans. Both are obviously from New York foreign ghettos and importing alien views, cultural anarchy and anti-Americanism into our fair state. You should be ashamed!

—Mr. Fredric Hudson
Weed, California

 

Sirs:
The mentally miserable critic of the “Governor’s Mansion Competition” has certainly put himself on a plane that is out of this world. Anyone who can find so much fault with so many great Architects is feebly denying the fallibility of Man. Certainly no mans work is perfect just as man is not perfect (or all of mans works are perfect because man is). It is so easy to find fault but so difficult to correct it. I would like to see a building that Mr. Gebhard designed, or did he just get out of school?

—Bruce Wendell Beebe
Architect, San Francisco

 

Sirs:
For the following exhibitions, selections of San Francisco artists were either made directly by, or in consultation with, Mr. George Culler or Mr. John Humphrey, of the San Francisco Museum of Art:

1. 50 California Artists (Whitney Museum, New York)

2. Some Points of View, ’62 (Stanford University)

3. The Artist’s Environment: West Coast (Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth and others)

4. Pacific Coast Invitational (Santa Barbara Museum and others)

Don’t you think it’s about time that someone remarked on the fact that in all of these exhibitions almost all of the avant garde galleries in San Francisco (Batman, New Mission, Hobbs, etc.) received virtually no representation, while the usual year in and year out fare from David Cole and Dilexi continues to bore viewers all over the country? Is it regarded as the function of these galleries to simply die of neglect so that these same museum officials can later write pious catalog memoirs of the good old days?

—Marvin Friedman
San Francisco

 

Sirs:
You are publishing what is without a doubt, in my opinion, the finest art magazine in this country. From cover to cover there is a handsome continuity of layout, design, commentary, photography, and even advertisement.

I discovered my first issue of Artforum (Volume 1, Number 3) while traveling through California this last September, and immediately recognized this magazine as a delightfully refreshing mixture of all the arts, from painting to pottery to furniture. Certainly the latest issue (Number 6) is a splendid example of a truly fine magazine. I hope, however, that those who write the reviews and critiques will, in time, become a little more bravely critical and a little less ambiguous, vague and. hesitant.

I am spreading the word Artforum here in Cincinnati, and recommending your publication highly.

—John Carl Sheblessy
Cincinnati

 

Sirs:
Rocchia’s hilarious article on the ill fated opening of the Garden Gallery (Vol. 1 No. 6) is the best thing that’s come out of the Northwest since Mark Tobey.

—Bob Herbert
Lincoln, Nebraska