Letters from the Issue of November 22, 2001

The Great Art Debate, Part 2: This letter not intended for stupefied couch potatoes

If you want a mirror or a reflection of our society, turn on your television and find your reflection in MTV or programs like Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. These days only a minority of people pick up a book instead of watching countless hours of television. They also are the people who visit art galleries to escape from "pop culture" to find insight or even truth in the visual arts. Art can open one's mind by stimulating all the senses, and by doing so it offers insight that can be a connection on a personal level. Artists should aspire to make connections of substance with their audiences on an intellectual or emotional level. The viewer can carry that experience for days, weeks, and maybe even years. True art is not ephemeral.

For example, Triff's critique of the "4 Painters" exhibition at the Dorsch Gallery is a prime example ("Wide Portrait of Painting," November 1). What shocked some people at the show was a painting called Wanker by Jordan Massengale. I stood in front of it for quite some time. I was curious, and it raised questions in my head: Why would he paint such a composition? Is it a reflection of how he views society behind closed doors? Is it a reflection of himself performing acts that may offend others but are pleasurable to himself?

The point is that thoughts ran wildly through my mind. I was stimulated by this artist, who has a passion for his work and the moral courage to take a chance and display this painting to the world with no regrets. Mr. Kan, this work of art, among many, is not a reflection of a society gone numb; this work is a lens that reveals a society that is very much alive.

Nadhia Sanchoo
Miami

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