Week of June 13, 2001

Critical People
But it's fun! Just because you don't like a piece of art isn't a reason to pan an entire project [Eddie Silva, "Tedious People," RFT, June 6]. There are many museums full of things that I don't enjoy looking at. I stay away from them. There are many artists who produce pieces which don't thrill me. I don't buy them.

But the People Project is fun. Whether I like an individual piece or not, it has involved many people in producing and displaying public art who would otherwise not have had an opportunity to do so. And, as a great bonus, some of the people are enjoyable to look at. And some of them are thought-provoking.

Personally, I'd like to see more of such things in our town. I think that you're way off base this time.
Art Zemon
via the Internet

It could have been worse: The only bad idea is one never attempted. The St. Louis People Project is at the very least a grand idea and a plan mired in mediocrity imposed on it by this city. St. Louis needs to finally wake up from its Anheuser-Busch-induced stupor and realize that there is more to life than sporting events, truck pulls, monster factory-outlet sales and the yearly parade of over-the-hill acts at Riverport. I, for one, applaud the Regional Arts Commission for its commitment to the People Project.

The original idea called for mules as the base object. Can you imagine St. Louis being recognized for artistic interpretations of an ass?
Matthew Foster
St. Louis

I am surprised by your attitude: During a recent visit to St. Louis, I had an opportunity to see some of the work. I found it new and intriguing and therefore exciting. I do not expect all the world to enjoy art in the same way. Thus I am surprised at your attitude. I hope you'll re-examine your position and embrace any expression of art. Your personal tastes, like mine, are just that -- personal. Another's does not deserve to be attacked -- critiqued, yes, but not attacked.
John H. Krickbaum
McAllen, Texas

He's the culture czar: Eddie Silva's piece on the People Project reads more like an adolescent diatribe than a critical review of the works created for the project. Perhaps the dog days of summer are early this year for Eddie: Nothing tantalizing to write about. A good time to rant about something. What shall it be? Why not those weird sculptures? After all, they are fouling up the "sober contemplation of history" which one naturally does when one is near the Old Court House. They are an easy target.

Eddie begins to instruct us about the "conceptual foundation to contain meaning," but, alas, he only teases and fails to follow through. He mentions a mural in the Bay Area, but to what point? He insults this area by labeling it "tight-fisted St. Louis." He even brings in the race issue, a popular topic these days, accusing the art of racial insensitivity.

Eddie tell us that nothing was done right. He should know. He's the culture czar here in this burg. Pity those poor sucker artists.
Rick Fischer
via the Internet

Waking up to public art: Eddie Silva's commentary reflects a common RFT attitude that St. Louis is "behind" most other cities and should just get perfectly hip overnight. This attitude lacks an appreciation for the process of getting from A to B, and I believe it to be very discouraging for our artists and forward-thinking people.

I find many of the figures intriguing, if not enjoyable, but, more so, I absolutely applaud the People Project's adventurous effort. This is a very good move for St. Louis, and I say good is good enough.

For a guy who grew up in a St. Louis neighborhood full of concrete statues of black jockeys, Blessed Virgins sheltered by half-buried vertical bathtubs, and kissing Dutch kids, I welcome the People Project and believe this effort is waking St. Louisans up to the notion of public art.

Whether viewers are delighted, disappointed, disgusted or just unimpressed, folks throughout our area are seeing that one may color outside of the lines -- that art does not have to be in museums or in front of our government buildings.

Art can be at the nearest intersection.
Tim Auer
St. Louis

The Goddess René
I was hoping for a fresh approach: Again my hopes are dashed by the drivel of yet another God complex spewing forth profanity, insults and an uneducated view of the St. Louis music scene [René Spencer Saller, "Radar Station," RFT, June 6].

After years of touring, it never ceases to amaze me how poorly St. Louis' music community is represented. I was looking forward to a fresh approach by a new writer in your "Radar Station" column, but you appointed someone who chooses, once again, to take the adversarial role with local musicians. Sure, you are inundated by "poorly" written, "poorly" recorded offerings. The technology allows for anyone with a couple of bucks and three chords to produce inferior products, but rather than focus on the many great players in the region, you wallow in the nondescript shallow masses. As a result, great players move on down the road to markets that recognize solid play and the "left-behinds" flourish in the pathetic local club scene.
Ron Medley
Maryland Heights

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