In view of SMOCA's own press, I was hardly out of line to expect that the artists' visual and conceptual high watermarks would be honored and continued in "Looking Forward." In my view, they weren't. "Looking Forward, Looking Black" should have been hard-hitting and adrenaline pumping, but unfortunately it fell far short of being either. I expressed my personal disappointment in my review. My rhetorical questions about curatorial thought processes and selections for the exhibition venue were just that -- questions, not assertions of fact. This was an art review, a subjective commentary examining and taking issue with aesthetic choices that shaped "Looking Forward," not to mention the conspicuous absence of work that was reproduced or cited in the show catalogue. I still question why a full-page reproduction of Harris' potentially controversial work was purposely included in the catalogue, when curator Isaak, by her own admission, knew the work would never appear because it had been sold before the exhibition ever opened.

I garnered my information about the original Hottentot Venus from various sources unrelated to the catalogue, including a transcription of a National Public Radio segment about the legendary Saartije Baartman, the original Hottentot Venus, and South Africa's continuing efforts to have her remains returned to her homeland. In recent years, Baartman has been the subject of a stage play, several works of performance art and a South African documentary film; she has been an ongoing cause c'lËbre in South Africa. Why refer to Jimenez's "excellent essay" when I was reciting facts I ascertained on my own?

I in no way "pitted" SMOCA against ASU. And I am puzzled as to why Basquiat necessarily had to be excluded from "Looking Forward," a group exhibition, just because SMOCA has shown his work in the past. You can't get too much of a good thing, in my book. My reference to the ASU show was intended merely to illustrate the differences in curatorial selections and highlight a certain risk-taking in ASU's choices that was glaringly absent in the SMOCA show.

If I overlooked other white artists in "Looking Forward," I apologize. I was rhetorically inquiring as to why curator Isaak chose to ignore certain well-established white artists who have dealt with the theme of representation, stereotypical or otherwise, of the black body in this culture.

I stand by my review; curatorial choice and exclusion is as valid a subject for commentary as actual work appearing in the show, especially when the theme is as dynamic and potentially explosive as the one chosen by Isaak.

Guarding the Henhouse

I read with interest your article regarding this court-appointed fiduciary ("Nancy Drew," Paul Rubin, January 20). A friend is also a victim of this woman's embezzlement. Because of internal family strife, her father was appointed a ward of the court. She had been pleading to the court for months (or years) to get an investigation on this woman; however, her cries went unattended.

In light of your article, I think the lawyers and the judges, the commissioners, and anyone else involved in this should also be under investigation. There seems to be a lot of head-turning on their parts with regard to Nancy Elliston's negligence, delay in getting bills paid, etc. I find it probable that somebody may be involved. If Elliston is so broke and her close friends could not tell of any vices she had, where did all that money go?

Janis Mastin
via Internet


"Shout at the Mullet" (David Holthouse, January 27) would have been entertaining if it had been original and not a watered-down rip-off of www.mulletsgalore.com. No mention of the Web site at all, amazing. Makes me wonder if all the articles I have enjoyed in the past are just somebody else's rehashed Web site.

G. Bevell
via Internet

Voicing a stereotypical opinion is a true sign of diminutive intelligence.

Matthew Lucas

Great Mullet column! My father and brother are both avid Mullet hunters in the Valley of the Sun, so they loved it, too. I'm sure you are aware of it, but if not, please check out www.mulletsgalore.com. It is by far the funniest Mullet site out there. Good luck Mullet hunting.

Bob Hyde
Durham, North Carolina

I consider New Times to be the only newsworthy paper in Phoenix, as well as a solid example of real-life journalistic ethics. That's why I thought I should mention the similarity of your column "Shout at the Mullet" to an established Web site, www.mulletsgalore.com. There seem to be more than a few terms or phrases that are, I'm sure, coincidental. However, when comparing the column as a whole directly with the Web site, the likeness is disturbing.

Steve Kevil

While snowbound and trapped in Knoxville, Tennessee, last week, a dearth of reading material in my hotel forced me to purchase a GQ magazine. It was pretty terrible, except for two articles. The first was a pictorial of Tyra Banks. The other, an amusing article -- complete with photos -- detailing the history of the haircut they called "the Mullet."

When I opened the latest New Times several days later, I was delighted to see a pagelong column on the Mullet written by David Holthouse. I assumed that after properly crediting the GQ article, Holthouse was going to put a Phoenix spin on the article, perhaps describing some locally famous Mullets. Instead, I was surprised to find no reference whatsoever to the GQ article, and instead a lengthy piece that virtually appropriated it.

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