Letters to the Editor: August 20 - 27 | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Letters to the Editor: August 20 - 27 

Wrongheaded piet-ies

The title of Savannah Guz review of the exhibition Piet (Mondrian) in Pittsburgh, "Muffling Mondrian" [Aug. 13] represents both a misunderstanding of the English language and of the the true nature of Mondrian's art.

Firstly, according to several dictionaries, "to muffle" means to hide, stifle, or to cover up something. If I understand her review, I would think that her expressed dismay over the lack of detailed labeling would be the exact opposite of "muffling" the art under a blanket of academic persiflage. Secondly, recent scholarship on Mondrian and his work as well as the official position espoused by the Mondrian Trust pointedly eschews any connection between the artist and the Neo-Plasticist Movement. A ground-breaking exhibition which recently was presented at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany, decidedly placed Mondrian outside of Neo-Plasticism and definitively pointed out the deep connections between the Dutch artist and the French Post-Impressionist and German Expressionist camps. The curator of that aforementioned exhibition discovered that Mondrian also enjoyed painting outside in the landscape, rather than brooding over theoretical treatises in his studio.

While I agree with Ms. Guz's assertion that contextualization is important, sometimes, as in the case of this small show, it is sufficient to merely look. And to do that, you don't need a muffler of any sort!

-- Tom Sokolowski, Director
The Andy Warhol Museum


Protest values out of whack

"Partially hidden from the road, behind a black banner" begins the July 9 article "Anarchists gather for picnic, not protest," prompting me to wonder, "Why all the hiding?" But that is what I always ask the black-garbed, hooded and masked individuals who comprise the herd segregating themselves from others at protests, marches and actions: "Why hide your face or identity when attending events where you are acting in the name of peace and social justice?"

I want to thank City Paper for answering that question with a photo so eloquently and vividly expressing everything that I find wrong with the Pittsburgh Organizing Group. The photo shows a line of children. The first is blindfolded and wielding a bat. The child is being encouraged to "whack a police car piñata" [the caption explains], hoping for a reward.

I am no great fan or defender of the police. In 20 years of activism, I have tasted pepper-spray as well as been unjustly cuffed and stuffed on more than one occasion. My face is seen repeatedly on POG's Web site at a variety of protests and actions. But that is the point: My face is seen.

I am no great fan or defender of police, but encouraging children to strike out blindly at symbols of authority and rule of law sounds more like the chaos, violence and disorder that define anarchy than a blueprint for "a society based on mutual aid and respect." But then I live in a ghetto, the kind of place where the effect of an undisciplined, virtually lawless culture exemplifies itself in 12-year-olds vandalizing and stealing cars while 15-year-olds deal drugs and carry guns. A 14-year-old died recently after being shot in the face with a sawed-off shotgun. She was at the home of a youth minister. That is anarchy for you. Trust me, it is not an ideal society.

I want to thank CP, but then I can't help wondering if the caption to the photo or the tone of the article would have been different if, instead of a line of white "anarchist" children in Schenley Park being encouraged to blindly whack a police car piñata, it had been a line of African American kids in Homestead or Wilkinsburg. Or Muslim children anywhere.

So this is what we, the movement for peace and social justice, have come to. Thomas Merton must be rolling in his grave. Jesus wept.

-- Kevin A. Skolnik, Duquesne


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