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PRINT October 1998

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

POISON IVY

To the Editor:

After the initial shock of seeing “our dirty linen” washed in public (by an outsider, no less), I found Ronald Jones’ “Crimson Herring” in the Summer issue (on “Black Like Who?” the Harvard symposium on stereotypes in contemporary art) quite brave. At the same time, it was a bit confused—how could it not be?

Before going further, let me confess: I’m of the pox-on-both-your-houses school myself. The Kara Walker attackers and defenders have so occupied the floor that mere examiners of the work have no room.

One reason the audience was so “snow-packed,” as Jones put it, is that beyond the brutal demographics of the art world, many black arts professionals were not informed of the symposium, or if they were, they decided not to attend: they feared they might get angry (not at white people, but at the conference organizers) and lose their cool.

The warning signs were there,

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