PRINT June 1963



I am writing to protest the mutilation of my drawing, reproduced in the April issue. This drawing was cropped and, as far as I am concerned, ruined.

I’ve admired and enjoyed Artforum since its beginning last year. In my opin­ion it fills a crucial role for the West Coast art scene and does it beautifully. I find many of the articles, reviews and discussions interesting and well-written. The number, choice and quality of re­productions are quite good, and the lay­out too. How, then, is it possible in a publication dedicated to the presenta­tion of art for such a gross mutilation to occur?

—Sidney Gordin
San Francisco

A clear example of how much the viewer can contribute to a work of art is to be seen in EMP’s review of my show in your April issue. The reviewer bemoans contemporary artists in gen­eral and myself in particular for “. . . preoccupation with genitalia” which she regards as “repellent” and a “blatant sign of a pornographic age.” The particular piece cited, Bone Torso, is a very abstract work, using simultaneous images of a vertebrae section and a human form. It has manifold associa­tions but if it were to be pinned down to anything specific it would be to a study of shapes relating to death. Though I disclaim sex as the topic of that particular piece, it is not because this is embarrassing––only far-fetched. I believe it is valid to use any subject or image pertinent to human life and experience, and obviously one of the most ubiquitous of experiences is sex. Unfortunately the population explosion testifies to the fact that most do not find the subject repulsive. My approach to sculpture utilizes the suggestion of natural forms in order to evoke a height­ened response from the viewer––but the response, it appears, can reflect the viewer far more than it does the piece.

—Bella Tabak Feldman
Palo Alto, California

Your magazine reaches Mexico and other Latin countries; thus in this let­ter I want to convey my personal thanks as well as convey the usefulness that I feel derives from your interest in ar­tistic expression South of the border.

The front cover of your February issue was a drawing by the Mexican José Luis Cuevas. It is of particular importance at this time, in view of a tendentious campaign of “anti-cuevism” by some artists wanting, by all means, to be regarded as the sole creators of the interiorist movement inside and outside Mexico. Since he had his first outdoors exhibition in a humble street in Mexico City (Calle Donceles), Cuevas has been a matter of controversy. Why? The pub­lic stand taken by those clearly influ­enced by his ideas––in denying them––­does not improve their stature. A true search for their own images would be more advisable and would pave the way to perfection for a young artist. Never in history has a burial brought legitimate fame to the burier.

—Luis Lastra
Washington, D.C.

I was delighted to see some much­ waranted notice given to the work of Vernon Fimple in your Vol. I, No. 10 issue of Artforum. The critique of this rather difficult (in my opinion) artist was helpful––both sensitive and penetrating, I thought. In all consci­ence, however, how could you permit a painting of such rich content as his Eden Revisited to be trimmed? I had the privilege of seeing this work when it was first shown at the Parsons Gal­lery, and am certain that none of the figures were sliced off in that arbitrary way. As a writer, I know how distressing it is to have any part of the sense of one’s work “edited” out. One would like to feel confident that a thoughtful publication like Artforum in all cases scrupulously respects the work itself.

—B. L. Barrett
Monterey Park, Calif.