Death Mask of Exposition Park
Can I toss in my two cents? OK, thanks. First of all, I don't always agree with Christina Rees, but I happen to think she is an excellent writer who has a great way with words. As far as if she was actually correct in her critique of the art on display at the galleries in Expo Park ["Critic's choice," May 20], I can't really weigh in one way or the other--I haven't seen it. I will say that Dallas needs an Expo Park-type area to be the nexus of the creative visual arts scene.

Most of the people I've met that either live or work in the Expo Park neighborhood are genuine and inspired. I wish them all the best, and hope they are successful in raising the profile of our visual-arts community. Still, I have to ask this question: Do the names Ron English, Bill Haveron, Terrell Moore, Jeff Robinson, Matt Miller, or Dan Rizzie ring a bell? How about Todd Oldham, Tracey Feith, Amy Talkington, Mike Judge, or Roxy Gordon? All of these folks have one thing in common: They are creative people who all felt the need to leave Dallas to realize their ultimate goals.

What does that say about our city? It says we don't have brains enough to nurture the artists that live in our own hometown. The galleries in Expo Park are bravely showing the art that is available here and now. If you're wondering where all of the truly amazing and important art is, look for "our" people in Los Angeles or New York. Dallas-based artists know that if they ever want to make a name for themselves, it just ain't gonna happen here. It's not Expo Park's fault; it's ours. We take art for granted around here. How many of you out there actually went to the "open house" gallery night in Expo Park? Less than a hundred? There are five million people living in the area. You do the math.

As Rees pointed out in her article, at least the galleries in Expo Park have honest and valid intentions. That's a good first step. The "Death Mask of Christina Rees"? That's two steps back. I have to ask the artists themselves: Are you making art for yourself, or for Christina? What really matters: using your art to portray your perspective of life on earth, or using your art to "attack" somebody who doesn't happen to agree with your "vision"? Christina isn't the artist; you are. Laugh it off and create something new. If you can't deal with it, either quit calling yourself an artist, or do what everyone else does: move to New York or L.A. It may be your only hope.

Jeffrey Liles
Via e-mail

This letter is in response to the trio of very angry letters you recently received in response to Christina Rees' Exposition Park column. I write some criticism, on theater locally and on art for a Houston-based publication. I am also a working visual artist. As someone who's been on both sides of the fence, I'd like to say that the folks who wrote in and criticized Ms. Rees' criticism are almost completely without a clue as to what "criticism" is. A newspaper critic is not paid to suckle her subjects like a new mother. He or she is neither a booster nor an assassin. A critic is paid to deliver the readers his or her opinion. If Ms. Rees wrote glowingly of everything she reviewed she would be a publicist, not a critic.

It really pisses me off when I read a letter from someone who is angry because a critic or reviewer was not "objective" in his or her analysis of the work in question. Objective? A critic, by obvious definition, criticizes. What do you jerk-offs want? Critics to insert the sentence "Of course this is only my opinion; please don't be upset" between each paragraph? Grow up.

It has been my observation and experience that people who are upset when their work gets a bad review invariably have one thing in common--they are insecure about the quality of that work. Besides, on this particular occasion, Ms. Rees was dead-on right. In my opinion, of course.

Curtis Martin
Via e-mail

Sock it to us!
We at Sock Monkey would like to sincerely thank Christina Rees for acknowledging us as a gallery, and finally clarifying why you've failed to do so in months gone by. Though we did receive an honorable mention in your 1998 best/worst openings list, we've assumed that every time we sent you information regarding our monthly events, you must have been forwarding them to the music department. This is because during the past 11 months, we've had some really enjoyable art happenings, which have been noted in the music section but virtually ignored by the art department.

Now we understand why.
From what I gathered from the article, you must look at art from an entirely different perspective than we do. We run a gallery where once a month, we show a one-man exhibit. The type of art shown and the subject matter change from month to month, and so far, we've considered our attempts to expose these talents a great success.

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