Volume 74, Number 43 | March 02 - 08, 2005

Letters to the editor

Likes radical and explosive art

To The Editor:
Re “Boris Lurie: Uneasy visions, uncomfortable truths” (news article, Feb. 23):

Thank you very much for this excellent article on Boris Lurie, who’s work in the U.S. has mostly been ignored by the art world. David H. Katz presented a deep and highly informed insight of Lurie’s life and art and underlined the strength and importance of Lurie’s work for the present. I really enjoyed this article and hoped that this will open some people’s eyes on this most radical and explosive art. This might also be a chance to express high respect for Clayton Patterson’s work as Village documentarian, organizer and activist. Holding up the torch of ignored art in his Outlaw Museum he is giving people the chance to discover dark and mostly unknown parts of art history. Since I did some work on Boris Lurie in Germany I know that it is difficult to find a museum or a gallery accepting an art that is so disturbing, aggressive. It is much easier to follow the line of Abstract Expressionism or Pop Art, although this is well known all over the world and represented by most museums.

Matthias Reichelt

Tallmer on Miller, sheer poetry

To The Editor:
Re “A playwright even more complex than his characters” (reflection, by Jerry Tallmer, Feb 16):

What a beautifully written and thought-provoking article by Jerry Tallmer on recently deceased playwright Arthur Miller. Mr. Tallmer speaks his own poetry, which perhaps is influenced by Mr. Miller, with various interesting tidbits, anecdotes and innuendoes abounding. Bravo! Miller lives on — for all his sons and daughters.

Sidney G. Schneck

Sets record straight on labyrinth

To The Editor:
Re “Board 5 Parks Committee approves pavilion restaurant”(news article, Feb. 9):

Allow me to correct the way I was identified and to deny the “retort” I was supposed to have made at the meeting. I am the artist who maintains the labyrinths at the north end of Union Sq. (Villager cover story April, 17, 2004). Community Board 5’s Parks Committee voted to recommend the continuation of my Labyrinth Project with its possible inclusion in the new pavement planned for the north end.

I spoke only to that issue, as did Austin Fremont, who represents the interests of our community’s young people. We care deeply about keeping the north end’s open space, as it extends the recreational use of the park. We encourage labyrinth supporters to continue to let the Parks Department and the Union Sq. Partnership know we want labyrinths in the new design.

Diana Carulli

Puzzling picture of Westbeth

To The Editor:
Thanks for the article “Westbeth holdout slows push to designate historic district” (news article, Feb. 16):

I would, however, like to point out a few things. The income from the commercial space that is part of the Westbeth complex since its inception was, and has always been, intended to offset the rents of the artist tenants. Though the amount of commercial space has been gradually shrinking over the years (another story) the rental price per sq. ft. has seriously lagged behind market-value rates in the immediate vicinity. In fact, if one makes a few calculations one can estimate that one of our newest tenants, The New School, is paying less per sq. ft. than the artist tenants who are residents in the building.

Though our board refuses to show us the lease, the previous management agent, Brad Winston, at a public meeting, stated that the New School has a 40-year lease with an option to buy. How much of Westbeth the New School thinks it can buy is not clear. Westbeth is listed at Guidestar.com as a public charity though it may be by structure a charitable trust. Gus Harrow, the famous attorney who represented Mark Rothko’s children and, later in 1986, Westbeth Preservation, believed this to be true. Therefore, if a C.T. is the case, Westbeth is not, as some would have us believe, truly owned by the board of directors but rather by a board of trustees holding Westbeth in trust as an American cultural resource.

Some time ago, I wrote a letter to the office of the secretary of the interior, Gale Norton, asking if she could tell us just who owns Westbeth. Her reply was that since Westbeth’s mortgage was held by HUD, then HUD is the current owner of record.

Perhaps the board is not concerned about making Westbeth predator proof by landmarking. Perhaps they have already sold us out and they have a secret deal with the New School or some other entity not to landmark. The board’s original statement about landmarking was to say that landmarking protocol for repairs would make their cost prohibitive. But Andrew Berman has said there is plenty of grant money around for repairs. Westbeth is a national historic site and listed on the national register for historic sites.

P.S. As far as there being artist residents on the board — everyone knows this is a joke. There are no real artist tenants on the board. I suggest you you ask them for a résumé and an exhibition record.

John L. Silver

New dog run sounds g-r-r-reat!

To The Editor:
I am writing in response to your article “ ‘Thrown to the dog owners,’ designer defends run plans,” in The Villager of Feb. 16. First, a correction: The West Village Dog Owners Group mentioned in the article and of which I am chairperson is not the organization led by Lynn Pacifico. Ms. Pacifico is president of the Dog Owners Action Committee.

That said, I would like to add the support of our organization for the construction of a new run in Washington Sq. Park. There are not, and never have been, enough spaces for the many canine Village dwellers (and their owners!) to socialize and play off-leash, and the replacement of the dog run in Washington Sq. Park is an important issue for the Village and its canine residents.

Further, we would encourage dog owners to work closely with the designers, especially on safety issues, to ensure the success of this new dog run. Specifically, since the run is being moved to the perimeter of the park, we hope the designers will pay careful attention to include a very safe entrance/exit way. We have found that a double-gated entranceway to a run certainly minimizes the chance of “escape,” as the runs that we have established on the West Side have all been adjacent to the West Side Highway.

Apart from the size and configuration issues, which can hopefully be resolved easily, the new dog run sounds great! The sprinkler system is certainly a great addition.

Tracey Sides
Sides is chairperson, West Village Dog Owners Group

Artists must stop Gerson plan

To The Editor:
I’m an artist, painter and sometime street artist vendor. I’m also a member of A.R.T.I.S.T. This idea of Alan Gerson trying to restrict the number of street artist venders and/or relocate them to a pier or a vacant lot is just a backdoor scheme to get around our, yours and my First Amendment rights. For what — to clean the streets of artists who display art on these streets, only to then replace them with intrusive, in-your-face advertising kiosks? This plan would be New York’s road to ruin. First Soho, then Union Sq. Park, then all of Manhattan, then Brooklyn, Queens.… What a dull, soulless city this might become if he succeeds.

Russell Mehlman

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