Trova the line! Readers admonish the RFT for being overly critical of the late Ernest Trova, plus how to protect yourself from stray Bibles.

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Trova the line! Readers admonish the RFT for being overly critical of the late Ernest Trova, plus how to protect yourself from stray Bibles.

A very misunderstood artist: I know you're trying to be irreverent, but writing this kind of thing about somebody a few days after they've died is not cool ["Ernest Trova: Genius or Hack? You Make the Call!" Chad Garrison]. It's OK to invite a dialogue about the merits of Trova's art, but to drag out a word like "hack" is absurd, and the timing of your posting here is really, really tactless. Additionally, the lazily Googled images here are largely unrepresentative of his life's work and a testament to how little you apparently know about his art.

Ernest Trova was always an artist who some people loved to hate: his classicism misunderstood as regressive, his playful ephemera confused with crass commerciality, and his chosen materials viewed as slick rather than the dead-on expression of contemporary man's inseparability from his own time and technology.

Trova's critics have long complained of fatigue with his seemingly endless variations on his Falling Man theme, consistently failing to accept that endlessness was, in fact, central to Trova's point and process. The idea of serialized detachment as an effective artistic strategy somehow gains more credence when it is applied to Andy Warhol than to Ernest Trova, while, in fact, it is equally fundamental to both of their practices. Why it was seen at the time as a benefit to Warhol's work and a detriment to Trova's might be a better point of departure for discussion than, "Genius or Hack?"

The Falling Man was to Ernest Trova what Mickey Mouse was to Walt Disney — a character capable of infinite physical and narrative flexibility, undergoing constant displacement and redefinition without losing its essence.

Trova was a self-taught artist who never moved from his hometown and made work that once stood outside of the Guggenheim's Fifth Avenue entrance, meeting every visitor through the museum's door. For years, major examples of the Falling Man series were prominently displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Walker Art Center, among innumerable other important arts institutions. It's fair to say that whether you like Trova's art or not is a matter of taste. It's also fair to say the timing of Garrison's poll is completely tasteless.
Matthew Strauss, via the Internet

Hardly a hack: I had the good fortune to work on a project with Mr. Trova in 1978-79. He had a commission to create several sculptures in front of a new office building, the Poydras Building at 1615 Poydras [Street] in New Orleans. I was one of several architectural model builders who built a huge scale model of the plaza in front of the Poydras building and installed it in his studio. Even in our limited time with Mr. Trova, it was obvious that he was an incredibly creative man. He delighted in showing us many of the whimsical scale models he used to design his monumental sculptures. He had a very playful attitude along with a strong work ethic that virtually forced him to constantly create art. It is not up to us to determine Trova's place in art history, but the Falling Man series has become an icon of the modern era. He was in no way a "hack"!
Tom L, via the Internet

What a dump: Good for them, because no one was going to buy that place ["Cave People Can Stay in Cave House," Chad Garrison]. Not even for a dollar. If they want it, let them keep it. There is only one way in and one way out. And that's through the uninviting virtual trailer park. "Beautiful setting" my arse. Those floor-to-ceiling windows face what appear to be two townhouse-like (what I am assuming is Section 8) apartments, with three units in each. That's far from remote. What a hellhole.
Lex, via the Internet

Thanks for sharing, Woody: When I was a young man, my mother gave me a single bullet and told me to keep it with me at all times for protection ["Maryville Church Shooting: The Mythical Bulletproof Bible," Keegan Hamilton]. I put it in my shirt pocket. One day I was walking down the street, and this maniac on the third floor leans out the window and throws something right at me. A Bible hits me in the chest and bounces off. Bounces off, I say. That bullet saved my life.
Woody Allen, via the Internet

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