PRINT March 1970



I would like to add an urgent postscript to my article “Wittgenstein’s Architecture” because there is a very real and present threat that the building will be destroyed.

The building was and still is owned by Wittgenstein’s family. For this reason no alterations have occurred. The building is in excellent condition and it is for sale.

The 32,000 square foot lot has a prime location in Vienna. Since apartments in the center of the city have become desirable again more than one private developer is willing to acquire the lot (not the building). The goal: the profitable and dense construction of apartment towers. The side effect: the tearing down of Wittgenstein’s building.

The building which was designed by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is not protected by law. The immediate acquisition of the building (and the lot) is the only way to preserve this unique monument.

The spatial qualities of the building could be adapted by a university or an international center for conferences or seminars. The garden is spacious enough to allow for appropriate construction of apartments for students, teachers or other participants. The simplicity and purity of this architecture allows a wide latitude of furnishings and adaptation.

Those interested may contact the undersigned at 54 W. 12th St., N.Y.C.

Bernhard Leitner
New York, N.Y.

When I die, the ravens will devour me, Brancusi used to say. Reading the voluminous critical writing on his work, one understands his prophecy: the majority of critics show a deplorable lack of understanding of this master. I want to point out here in particular the incorrectness of the last sentence of Rosalind Krauss’s Brancusi article in your January issue: “One can only conclude that Brancusi was among the worst of his critics.”

It is true that Brancusi published practically nothing and he did not think highly of art criticism (see his parable about the hen who quit hatching her eggs in order to chat, and spoiled them; in This Quarter, art suppl., I, 1, 1925). But what he wrote in the few letters of his that have been available for study, and what he has been quoted by numerous witnesses to have said on his art, are the most perspicacious and enlightening critical comments that I have read (and I have read practically the entire world bibliography on Brancusi, as Miss Krauss could be assured by scanning my forthcoming monograph on Brancusi’s Birds). Even when some statements by the sculptor do not seem to be really pertinent (usually as a result of the quoter’s inaccuracy), sufficient acquaintance with the literature makes them decipherable, and real knowledge of the oeuvre renders them meaningful. I believe that Mr. Sidney Geist, whose book and exhibition on Brancusi Miss Krauss rightly admires, would agree with me on this.

Athena T. Spear
Curator of Modern Art
Allen Memorial Art Museum
Oberlin, Ohio

Do you suppose that, just once, your film critic, Manny Farber, could get his facts straight, thereby adding considerable force to his already weighty arguments? Don Siegel directed Elvis Presley in Flaming Star and not in Flaming Feather. And he made Invasion, and not Return, of the Body Snatchers. Also, the ending of Siegel’s The Lineup takes place, not in Frisco’s Sutro Museum, but on some unidentified stretch of uncompleted freeway high above the harbor.

I know it’s nit-picking, but it’s irritating as hell to spot such careless mistakes.

Dan Bates
Hollywood, Calif.

My thanks to Emily Wasserman for bringing Tantra art to the attention of Artforum readers. I do object to the term “amusing primitivism” which would depict these works as quaint and I think any cursory glance at Mookerjee’s new glossy hardcover, Tantra Art, despite its rather insipid text, evidences intrinsic sobriety and vision of a quality not corresponding to the Western craft tradition. There is nothing pristine about Tantric works but their presence and strangeness is not one of the elements that can be isolated out of them.

Cara Montgomery
Los Angeles

I find the issues of Artforum over the past four months very disappointing. As an old subscriber I think your content not all as interesting as in the past years. You devote too much space to the “kooky” uninspiring work of people who really do not deserve the amount of coverage you give them. Compared to the diversified, interesting and stimulating artists presented in the past, I find your recent issues full of dull coverage.

Joseph Bickel
Forest Hills, N.Y.

In her review of Ron Davis’s paintings (December), Rosalind Krauss expressed dissatisfaction with the “arbitrariness of the color.” In most of the paintings exhibited at Castelli’s, however, Davis employed a subtly worked out simultaneous contrast. That is, he juxtaposed colors in such a way that their compliments are “picked up” and appear more luminous. Ultimately, of course, Davis, like all colorists, is interested in expression, and he manipulates color as he sees necessary to achieve this end.

Charles Kessler
Santa Monica, Calif.