In response to the Art Affair

To the editor:

The article on the “Keweenaw Art Affair” of November 8, while describing a positive subject, hints obliquely at problems with how the field of the plastic arts is perceived by almost everyone, problems taboo to speak about, but that are, perhaps, not even thought about.

Positive though the existence of the Keweenaw Art Affair is, it is “a place” only in some Brigadoon-like sense. Would a tire salesman be satisfied to be told that he might peddle rubber only one day of the year?

Would it be a relief for the greengrocer to know that the holiday had arrived in which he might flog lettuce, or move a few cucumbers? No, only for the painter would such paucity not be believed radical emergency. Yet no sense of urgency attends. In another industry so beset, an industry against which Congress even passes laws, its practitioners would hold meetings to deal with the crisis. In the plastic arts the response is resignation, meekness, a search for the best explanation that will allow the corporate world and the man in the street to permit art to survive.

The resort is almost always to excuse, the tone of these Gazette stories almost always apologetic, focussing not on the extreme lack of arts and crafts shows in Houghton and Hancock but quoting Ronda Bogan as to why, when there are already arts and craft shows in the area, some people started another.

But where, Houghton and Hancock, are your galleries? For the most part, disappeared from beneath parking decks or tucked into basement closets. There is so much fight in the spirit of the Copper Country and so much can be seen even at Keweenaw Art Affair from its lake glass to its sandstone painting to its burl-wood bowls that all of this is unnecessary.

Miro asked why Spain forced her artists to starve, and despite bright supporters and bright spots, the same shameful question might be leveled at the twin cities.

Chevalier Daniel C. Boyer