PRINT October 1968



On September 14, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago opens a show titled “Options,” in which the undersigned artists participate. Since the Chicago police under the direction of Mayor Daley have made deliberate efforts to brutally suppress dissent, artists have second thoughts about showing their work in Chicago museums and galleries. A number of them have chosen not to show in Chicago for two years as a protest against the city’s administration and with the hope that Chicagoans will then “have discarded their present political leadership.”

We respect the position of these boycotting artists. However, we believe Mayor Daley and the Chicago police are not people who would miss exhibitions of contemporary artists, nor do such exhibitions show up in the city’s income. Before the contrary is proven, we assume that citizens of Chicago who do care about contemporary art are not followers of Mayor Daley’s conception of law and order. We doubt if their influence is sufficient to insure that people are not beaten in Chicago streets and hotels. We think those Chicagoans who are interested in seeing our work should continue to have the opportunity to do so. They should be informed, however, that the exhibition of our work is not meant to create an atmosphere of phony culture that could cover up the machinations of repressive forces. An attrition of Chicago galleries and museums is likely to hurt the wrong people and might even be in the interest of Mayor Daley. We therefore do not withdraw our work from the “Options” show. We indeed are for options—particularly in Chicago.

Carl Andre
Harry Bertoia
Hans Breder
Jack Burnham
Jackie Gassen
Enrique Castro Cid
Tom Doyle
Peter Forakis
John Goodyear
Hans Haacke
Eva Hesse
Richard Hogle
David Jacobs
Lila Katzen
Stanley Landsman
Vernon Lobb
Tony Martin
Paul Matisse
Gerald Oster
Charles Ross
Edward Samuels
Joop Sanders
Robert Smithson
Rudi Stern
Theodosius Victoria
Paul Williams
Robert Zakarian

As an artist and a citizen, after sufficient consideration, I have determined not to offer art in Chicago nor to appear there publicly until the people of that city decide to remove Mayor Richard J. Daley from office or he himself departs official responsibility. I encourage colleagues and other concerned persons to declare themselves similarly. Utterly basic human considerations have been grievously violated by Mr. Daley, his political henchmen and police, among others. I feel compelled to notice and to remember such misconduct as best I can.
—Dan Flavin
Cold Spring, N. Y.

It seems it has become necessary to state that the photograph of my work on the cover of Artforum, May 1968, appeared without my knowledge or permission and against my personally expressed wishes.
—Robert Irwin
Los Angeles, Calif.

I have a few critical comments of my own about Jane Livingston’s words on my Walk-On Neon in her review of the “Magic Theatre” show in Kansas City. (September, 1968.)

The adjective “showy” is sort of gratuitously negative. If she dislikes the inherent qualities of neon tubing, let her say so. If it is rather my use of them, then it is even more incumbent upon her to explain just how and why she finds it “bizarre,” another vaguely negative but really unilluminating word. I am not a writer, but it would seem to me preferable to these teasing words and phrases such as “a not uninteresting artist” to have some real consideration of the work as a piece of sculpture, for its formal and spatial values.

Most disappointing is her cursory note that the neon tubes “blinked on and off.” Designated segments of my sculpture do indeed do that—but at different times and speeds in relation to those of other elements in the work and to the whole. The programmed pattern of these various segments is intricately worked out and realized according to my own esthetic. Its temporal sequences are as important as the material, spatial ordering of the tubes themselves. The effect of these patterns through time may be soothing, rhythmic, and harmonious in feeling to the spatial configurations of the tubes in one of my sculptures: in another the effect may be aggressive, unpredictable and in contrast to the feeling of the various shapes and spaces of its elements. This aspect of the Walk-On Neon is very important also as it affects the viewer’s visual experience by making it happen in a time period which is controlled, or marked, by the on-and-off sequences.

Moreover, this aspect appears to be, incidentally, in line with the reviewer’s statement early in her article, “. . . in combination with extended temporal and/or kinetic elements, the single fact of restriction to a single mode of sensory experience (visual . . .) is advantageous. . . .”

It is hard to believe that she did not notice the timed patterns in the Walk-On Neon in view of the sensitivity to detail which she displays elsewhere in the article and in view of the attention she appeared to give all the works in the show during her visit to Kansas City.
—Stephen Antonakos
New York, N. Y.

The University of Nebraska Art Galleries is undertaking comprehensive research into the life and work of Ralph A. Blakelock. This project is supported by grants by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities and the University of Nebraska Research Council. It will have several phases, the first of which will be the compilation of a national inventory of works in all media attributed to the artist.

Any persons owning works or documents pertaining to Ralph A. Blakelock are asked to contact the following:

Norman A. Geske, Director
University of Nebraska
Art Galleries
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508