Review overlooked Hartigan's key role in modern...


October 30, 1999

Review overlooked Hartigan's key role in modern painting

Sun art critic Glenn McNatt did an excellent job reviewing the Whitney Museum's fascinating exhibition, "The American Century, Part II" ("America's Art Century," Oct. 12). However, his failure to note that work by Baltimore artist Grace Hartigan is prominent in the exhibition's review of Abstract Expressionism was an important omission.

Ms. Hartigan, who has directed the Maryland Institute, College of Art's Hoffberger School of Painting since 1965, has been influential in late 20th-century painting and continues to make important contributions to contemporary art.

Her work is in the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum and many others collections.

In the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, several of Ms. Hartigan's paintings are featured in the current exhibition, "In Memory of My Feelings: Frank O'Hara and American Art," alongside work by Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Alice Neel, Claes Oldenburg, Jackson Pollock and others.

I applaud The Sun for keeping the public informed of arts events and providing insightful articles that help readers understand the historical context of works of art, as well as current controversies and emerging trends in the visual arts.

This helps remind us that our city is at the heart of one of the world's most active and energetic arts corridors.

But Baltimore is not a mere observer in this active arts scene. Our city is home to some of the most interesting, productive and influential artists, curators, museums and galleries in the nation.

Fred Lazarus IV, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Institute, College of Art.

State is opening doors for disabled artists

Thanks to The Sun for a thoughtful article about dancer Bran Pace, whose promising career was interrupted by a tragic act of violence that left him paralyzed from the chest down ("A saving grace," Oct. 4).

Mr. Pace, no stranger to hard work and motivation, is meeting his physical challenges with amazing grace and determination. He and his mentor and dance teacher, Emily Adams, can serve as an inspiration for us all.

As chairperson for the "A Celebration of the Arts in Maryland" initiative and honorary chair of the governor's Advisory Committee on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities, I hope artists such as Mr. Pace know Maryland is working to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

In fact, it is the first state in the nation to launch a full-scale effort to ensure individuals with disabilities can pursue or maintain careers in the arts.

The advisory committee is also addressing barriers and exploring exciting opportunities for the disabled, which will be unveiled at a statewide forum next year.

These efforts will give every Marylander equal access to careers in the literary, visual or performing arts.

Frances Hughes Glendening, Annapolis

The writer is Maryland's first lady.

One needn't go to N.Y. to know exhibit is gross

It seems that Glenn McNatt and The Sun are on a crusade to force everyone to support the Brooklyn Museum of Art's exhibition, "Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection" ("It's easy to denounce works if you don't bother to see them," Oct. 19).

The article suggests that, by disagreeing with Mr. McNatt and not wanting to see an exhibit featuring the Virgin Mary accented with elephant dung and cut-outs of women's private parts, I am "distrustful and intolerant," "malicious or deluded" and a "demagogue."

From reading reviews and seeing pictures and TV stories about this exhibition, I can conclude that it is gross (featuring chopped-up animals in formaldehyde) and glorifies a child killer and pedophilia.

I don't have to visit the exhibition to participate in serious debate regarding public finding of the arts, just as I don't have to see Hustler magazine or X-rated movies to know they denigrate women.

Mr. McNatt's idea of "serious debate" apparently involves name-calling; he even dismissed fellow critics who disagree with him as "absurdly provincial."

Isn't art in the eye of the beholder, open to interpretation and discussion?

Christopher J. Sikora, Ellicott City

Web site's photos are an inspiration

Thanks to The Sun for making available on the Internet so many stunning photographs of Maryland.

I am inspired by the natural beauty they capture so powerfully, as well as by the range of human experience these wonderful images depict.

I hope The Sun will make an extra effort to promote its Web site and direct readers' attention to the "A Century in the Sun" section.

Walter Levy, Pikesville

It's time to defend our local police force

With so much criticism being directed to of local police departments, I think it is high time more people came to their defense.

Having worked for years as a civilian administrator for the Baltimore County Police Department's Field Operations Bureau, I can attest to the dedication of the officers and their commanders.

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