The Fine Art of Alienation

Letters from the week of June 6, 2002

I am not trying to say the racism does not exist. Certainly there are cases of it taking place. There are also cases of politics, networking and promotion that make the difference between selling a work and not selling one. Race is one of many factors. What I do find disturbing is that criticism of minority artists, irrespective of which one, is automatically construed to be a form of racism.

To criticize art, of any group, is not in and of itself a form of "western bigotry."

Kurt von Behrmann
Via e-mail

Energy drain: The irony in interviewing Covarrubius, Lopez, Guglielmo and Ray for pawing the ashes of MARS is that they are among those most responsible for its future or fate: by using it, leaving and then undermining it, by declaring it to be irrelevant, inferior and not truly Chicano.

Yes, it's true that most of us who have been connected with it for the last 15 years and wanted so much more than these artists to see it succeed did not realize it was dead until now. And for most of those 15 years, in fact, it even thrived and provided a venue for art unlike any other in Phoenix. It has gone down because, like any co-op organization, the potential is determined by the ideas, energy, resources and opportunities that the board, membership and community will contribute. Today, these things have all been exhausted, and the downtown art scene has gone with it. Today, downtown is for bars, sports and street parties, and this was not made so by the artists of MARS. I think it is somewhat disrespectful of those who have worked to support it to have MARS' epitaph written almost exclusively by (at best) nonsupporters. But I would grudgingly admit that it creates an accurate view of how and why it has ended this way.

I am happy that at least Xicanindio will continue as a cultural focus. Although I can forgive the Chicano artists of the Valley for not having the energy to support more than one place, I cannot really understand why they can't share space or opportunities with people who are part of the Southwest but are not brown.

Doug Nering

Play Ball

Coach brutality: I feel sorry for Nelson's kids ("Ode to Coach Busken," Robert Nelson, May 23). Real men, as I learned at Parris Island, don't need to wonder where the line is — they know. Brutalized athletes also grow up to be our murderers, rapists and abusers.

Robert Sullivan

Sex and The City

Fire in the fire house: Roast away on those weenies ("Weenie Roast," Spiked, May 23). Great story. Wow. Sexual harassment must be everywhere. Hmmm. You know, Klusman needs some counsel from his mom. I bet she could help him quite a bit. They could discuss "things" at his house. Like how to wad and throw paper. Or how to stand on his feet without a prop. Sexual harassment? Now, Miss Klusman . . .

Chris in Texas
Via e-mail

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