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Sorry but Not Surprised

Cathy Curtis’ otherwise positive review of an installation by Sono Osato at the Laguna Art Museum South Coast Plaza Satellite takes a swipe at me for writing that I find “beauty and variety” in the work (“There’s a Lot More Than Meets the Eye at Offbeat Laguna Museum Exhibit,” Aug. 26).

Curtis apparently finds the B-word outdated. She insists that my wall text, written for a general audience at a shopping mall outreach gallery, should “show (my) awareness” of the art of Barry Le Va and Ad Reinhardt.

I am sorry, though not surprised, that Curtis cannot enjoy beauty in work which, at the same time, is spiritual, profane, somber, smart, and not a little goofy. Curtis feels the need to demonstrate to her audience that she is a highbrow art expert holding esoteric secrets to the art she writes about.

I don’t happen to share that particular insecurity. The introductory texts I write are meant to suggest interpretive possibilities to the 125,000 ordinary, intelligent people who pass through the satellite gallery each year. I believe that those people are perfectly capable of responding to serious and challenging art on its own terms and that the main obstacle to their appreciation of current art is the fear that some schoolteacherish scold is going to tell them they got it all wrong.

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CHARLES DESMARAIS

Director

Laguna Art Museum


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