SLU of Despond

And Biondi's sculpture park is ugly, too

Aesthetics is not an effete game. Aesthetic judgment is moral judgment, as the poet Jorie Graham has said. The planet gets uglier and uglier because of the choices made by Biondi and people like him.


Comings and goings: Speaking of purveyors of bad taste, Porter Arneill -- the Regional Arts Commission administrator who saw the People Project through to its forgettable demise last summer -- has taken a job in Kansas City as public arts administrator. We suspect that within a year, Arneill will provide fodder for St. Louisans, some sort of "fun" -- his favorite word when referring to the People Project-- public-art fiasco that we can use to lampoon our rival city to the west.

The figurative style of representation Biondi favors is alarmingly akin to that of fascist sculpture from the 1930s and '40s .
Jennifer Silverberg
The figurative style of representation Biondi favors is alarmingly akin to that of fascist sculpture from the 1930s and '40s .

Betsy Millard, who has had the chutzpah to bring provocative exhibitions to the Forum for Contemporary Art, has left her post as director of the renamed Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis to devote more time to her husband, the teacher and photographer John Hilgert, who has been living with cancer for some time. It is regrettable to see Millard leave just as the Contemporary's new facility is being built next door to the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, but she remains an advisor and volunteer. Millard is one of those who takes matters of art and life seriously, as reflected in her actions.

In case you were preoccupied by the new Nelly CD, you might not have heard that Itzhak Perlman will become music advisor to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The Post-Dispatch made this front-page news, with comparisons to the trade that brought Mark McGwire to the Cardinals.

Perlman is, for sure, a fortunate choice. Affable, charming, well liked and respected by the musicians and -- unlike former conductor Hans Vonk -- extremely PR-savvy, Perlman will enliven SLSO's concert season and attract more subscribers and donors, as well as talented new musicians, or so it is hoped.

The P-D's coverage of Perlman's signing, however, reflected the event itself less than it did the character of the city. St. Louis' inferiority complex reveals itself again, the subtext being, "Why would anyone like Perlman choose us?"

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