PRINT Summer 1968



I’ve just finished reading, with great interest and amusement, an article by Dan Flavin entitled “. . . on an American artist’s education.” (March, 1968.) This piece is most undeniably topical and labels accurately enough much of the ridiculous nonsense which passes for an adequate professional preparation in our colleges, universities, and art schools. Being myself a product of such an “education,” I can certainly sympathize with Mr. Flavin’s annoyance although I do believe that, at times, it gets to be somewhat excessive. What particularly rankled my tender sensibilities was his constant pejorative use of the phrase “art historical” as a blanket adjective for evil incarnate. Unfortunately, I do not believe that his corrective measures are adequate to the magnitude of the problem and, at worst, they are merely utopian.

—John F. Moffitt
Assistant Professor of Art
East Carolina University Greenville, N. C.

I agree with a number of points contained in the Dan Flavin article, ". . . on an American artist’s education,” but why in hell can’t he present ideas without burying them in this artyfarty mess of 150-word sentences? What a blowhard.

I don’t know what art school teaching did to Flavin to so inflame him against art instruction . . . but I do know that some English teacher failed when Flavin was allowed out into the world so ill-equipped for effective journalistic effort.

My anxious life includes teaching for a local professional art school, trying to keep up a production of my own sculpture, and contributing to the welfare of my 43-year-old Rolls Royce and 4 other rare old cars, which is as busy a combination of creative and re-creative action as anybody can handle. I’m used to trying to make some fairly good use of all these efforts by attempting to choose the best word, or the best material, or the best time, to suit the need of the moment. This causes me to be impatient with Flavin for being so careless and inept in his mishandling of a potentially interesting and important topic.

Gordon Anderson
The Cornish School of Allied Arts
Seattle, Washington

I was generally irritated by Dan Flavin’s breathless diatribes in your Letters section. “Killer” Flavin, the fierce purist, fights against hypocrisy and bourgeois art. I mean we’re all hip to what he’s condemning. So all this passionately winded “Flavinism” strikes me as peculiarly boring and ridiculously self-righteous.

He could do the whole art world a favor if he’d spend more time on his light objects and less at his type writer. This is a danger; for we’re giving the artist more leisure time. He doesn’t have to use his hands, he buys his stuff, or sends it out and has nothing to do. So in desperation he turns to writing.

Actually, this is a benefit to some of us because lots of lofts may now become available. After all, those rigorous mathematical computations, ideographs diagrammed on legal paper and, of course, those typewriters, don’t take up much space.

—Abby Gerd
New York, N. Y.

In regards to Mr. Flavin’s article “. . . . on an American artist’s education”—OUCH! It hurts.

Too bad that Mr. Flavin is not acquainted with Dean Charles LeClair’s vigorous esthetic leadership.

Arthur Flory,
Instructor Temple University
Philadelphia, Pa.

The phrase “revelation-through disorientation of a category of perception,” lines 4 and 5, 2nd paragraph, 2nd column on page 57 of the May issue should read “revelation through-disorientation of a category of perception.”