PRINT March 1964



E.M.P. . . . TY head is more like it!

E.M.P. reviewed my show at the San Francisco Art Center in December, made a chronological description in fragments of my paintings. Which is to say, was a very poor example of word usage to describe painting components. Obviously the writer did not search deep enough to make a profound statement, or was unable to grasp the philosophy of my art. Esthetically she missed the boat! Her limitations are clear within her “little boy blue” vocabulary: “his little decorative splashes of gold,” and “the two axis points.” Is this what Artforum has to offer?

Archie Gonzales
N. Highlands, Calif.


I fail to understand why your January cover was a work of design rather than the clearly identifiable reproduction of a painting by John McLaughlin. Once past this enigma, I found the contents of the issue excellent, as always.

Walter Hopps, Director
Pasadena Art Museum

As a recent victim of a paragraph or two of low comedy passing as a gallery review by Clair Wolfe, whose puerile vindictive indicates a woman who would derive even more benefit from sessions in group therapy than she seems to gain from spewing her hostilities onto your pages, I would like to protest your indulgence of her and appeal to your better judgment for the discontinuance of a policy that substitutes a string of terribly cute remarks for one of intelligent analysis. As a magazine whose ultimate intent would seem to be a better showcase for art and art discussions, I feel you cheapen your purpose by allowing the employ of a format that parallels in part that of the intellectual comic book, “Mad.”

My views on your rather one-sided preference for the steadily atrophying academy of the modern idiom has never been enthusiastic at best, but your condoning the mental poverty of some of the reviews, I am forced to regard as approaching dangerously close to the one party system of opinion-making that is the classic technique of all despots, which in turn, if it slips your memory, becomes the rallying point of the next revolution.

I would like to point out that the nonobjective painter is the conformist today and the objective artist is the one left to fight the battle of bigotry. In closing please extend my deepest sympathy to the co-workers of Miss Wolfe as frequent contact with her must be an appalling experience; as it is to others who only occasionally are subjected to her special brand of venom.

Mentor Huebner
Los Angeles, Calif.

I refuse to see that Holloway House spread as anything but a very funny joke. All that pretentious talk for a little skinny “gallery” and a living room with a stove in it! Another bedroom and he would have written a book.

Kirk Treadwell
San Francisco

I was quite surprised and pleased to see the space given the Gill and Holloway houses in the January issue. The Gill house is a “ringer.” The work of Gill has so many things going for it that there is something there to please almost anyone. I admire it very much. But the second house, the Holloway House, puzzles me; I don’t understand your so much space on it. Is it the collection that makes it important? Mr. Hoag’s words are interesting, but I doubt if every person who goes to the house has the benefit of his text. . . . Maybe it is just another house from that great class of buildings which are competent but dull. A mother solution to a similar problem, i.e., displaying a large art collection while doing justice to a great view, I suggest you look into a house designed by Mr. W. W. Wurster in San Francisco (on Jones Street, across from the San Francisco Art Institute), a house, incidentally, with much in common with the Gill House.

Jerry Bragstad
Berkeley, California


It was with interest that I read your comments on the work of Cameron Booth. I have followed his career in painting since the early twenties. Although the article (December) seemed favorable and sympathetic towards his work, it did him a great injustice by stating that “he has been more of a follower of trends than a leader.” This is not true. Actually he has been a forerunner of trends. The American scene was anticipated by his painting in the twenties of horses and cattle in moody landscape, as well as by his paintings of Indians. Two examples are “Early Mass,” 1923, Newark Museum of Art and “Horse Flies,” 1925, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. It was with disgust and chagrin that he found himself, in the early thirties, identified with the American Scene. It was not that he objected to the use of the material at hand, “The landscape, the domestic animal, moods of the changing season,” but he objected to being identified within the bad and highly publicized painting heralded under the banner of the American Scene. The second phase of this influence was in 1942, where was working in New York and ten at the Art Students League. He was at this time doing a form of loosely-painted free abstraction, before the name “abstract expression” was formulated, and certainly long before it became the popular “idiom.” At the Art Students League Booth taught many of the young painters the new direction of free abstraction and plastic form. Among his closest friends are some of these former students. Constance Perkins, the writer of this article, could not have been properly informed of Booth’s achievements or she would not have made such groundless statements.

Leslie E. Anderson
Savage, Minnesota