PRINT April 1999




To the Editor:
Lisa Liebmann’s article on Thierry de Cordier [“Sermon on the Mound,” January ’99] is the smartest piece of art writing I have ever read. It is intelligent and imaginative, and like a poet, Liebmann finds allusions in every direction. For the last few weeks I have been carrying her essay along on my travels and rereading it. I was impressed with her ability to situate de Cordier in the recent history of Belgian artists, kooky and less so, and at the same time to make visible the landscape he so starkly evokes. There is something darkly European about his work, but, lacking Liebmann’s visual vocabulary, I cannot evoke it except to mention Beuys and Kiefer.

Liebmann’s essay got me to reflect on the American landscape, which seems to have few if any of the elements de Cordier uses so effectively. If his techniques were applied to, say, the American West—the Norwegian immigrants in their prairie sod houses, the black-and-white photographs of early balloon-frame houses with unsmiling couples and their children, the absolute lack of landscaping as we know it today—the work would simply seem hokey. And yet Liebmann evokes de Cordier’s Belgian landscape so provocatively that I want to consider at least what might be done here. Think of our land of commerce—Levittown, spec houses—or of the contests with native peoples over much of what we know as property but to them was something wholly different, something immense, requiring prayer and renewal and moral living. Without closure or conclusion, let me say that Liebmann’s writing is spectacular and evocative, and it led me to think about the here and now in the US and how this land and its peoples can be brought to consciousness in ways that are challenging without being numbingly didactic.

Dan Rose
Haverford, Pennsylvania



To the Editor:
I read with interest the dialogue you published between Linda Nochlin and Yve-Alain Bois [“Matisse and Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry,” February ’99], having just finished Professor Bois’ truly stimulating book on the subject. I greatly look forward to seeing the exhibition in Fort Worth before it closes. May I, however, correct a misapprehension to which the interview might give birth? At one point Professor Nochlin refers to me as curating the exhibition “Matisse-Picasso,” which is to be shared by museums in London, Paris, and New York during the course of 2002–03. A little further on Professor Bois speaks of “the Golding MoMA show.” There are in fact six curators for this exhibition, two from each of the countries where it will be seen, and we work together in total parity. I list the names of my colleagues in alphabetical order: Anne Baldessari (Musée Picasso), Elizabeth Cowling (together we represent the Tate, and it was she, not I, who originally conceived of the exhibition), John Elderfield (Museum of Modern Art), Isabelle Monod-Fontaine (Centre Georges Pompidou), and Kirk Varnadoe (MoMA).

John Golding