Kid critic
As the staff of the Florence Art Gallery sat down to read the article "Kid Cubist" by Christina Rees [June 4], we were amazed, to say the least. The Dallas Observer is truly fortunate to have augmented its staff with a writer of such diverse talents. Not only has Ms. Rees, one of the Observer's most recent acquisitions, proven herself a valuable staff member through her abilities in art and film criticism, but she also looks to have proven herself to be of inestimable value as art consultant, broker, and investment advisor.

That Ms. Rees was gracious enough to offer free investment advice proves her loyalty to the visual art world and her hopes for its betterment.

Dallas art buyers take heed. Before you fall in love with a work of art to the extent that you may rashly offer to trade currency for the honor of living with the piece and allowing it to continue to enhance your life for years to come, slow down. Take the advice of Dallas' newest expert--Ms. Rees--and ask yourself: Value? Investment? Love?

So you find Stella drab and Rauschenberg fussy. According to Ms. Rees, you are wrong. Walk out of your local art gallery and give Sotheby's a call.

To be fair, Ms. Rees' beef with artist Alexandra Nechita does reflect some greater trends in the current art world, however with other artists. Today, there is a lack of respect for talent in the medium of oil on canvas, and some also believe that accessibility is to be equated with ignorance.

Running and operating an art gallery has provided us with the opportunity to view an extensive sampling of current art. Artists walk in the door, portfolio in hand; professional representatives call; and our mailbox is bombarded with photographs and artists' biographies on a daily basis. With such a basis of comparison, we feel secure on the occasions that internationally recognized talent walks in our door.

Without broaching the question of the subjectivity of beauty, it is unquestionable that Alexandra Nechita has a gifted eye for composition and an uncommon talent for creating harmony through color. That the media has embraced the tag line "Petite Picasso" is an element of hype. Fragmentation of the human form does not a Cubist make, and we would have expected that Christina Rees, educated critic that she is, would not jump on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, we were wrong.

At the request of many, Alexandra expressed her motivation for the large canvas The Magic of the Tooth Fairy during the opening reception last month. She innocently described her 12-year-old vision of what the Tooth Fairy might look like. While Ms. Rees felt it necessary to eloquently misquote Alexandra in "Valley girl-ese," what the spectators were allowed to experience was an artist unencumbered by the past pressures of university art instructors asking, "But what is the deeper meaning?" Refreshingly, Alexandra Nechita paints what she thinks and feels, without the smog of pretense that thickens the air at many Dallas art openings and divides "those who know" from those who simply wish to experience art. Nechita's works show up on the walls of galleries across the world on the basis of her unique vision and technical skill in the art of painting. The public falls in love with Alexandra Nechita's work for its honesty.

Alexandra's recent invitation from the world-renowned Mourlot Imprimeurs of Paris, France, is rare and exceptional--for Mourlot Imprimeurs is selective in nature. This is a description of prodigy, for as Webster's Dictionary describes, a prodigy is one who demonstrates exceptional talents--an act or event so extraordinary or rare as to inspire wonder. In all, Alexandra's works obviously aroused "wonder" in Ms. Rees; otherwise she would never have walked into the gallery to feed her curiosity.

Florence Art Gallery

I teach programming. The technique I use is to start with examples of good working code and have students modify and reshape it.

I think journalism and criticism are taught the same way. (Or, that's the way they were taught 40 years ago when it was possible to find good examples of journalism and criticism. It's harder to use this technique now, since journalists and critics spend more time consulting Marx than consulting Strunk & White, but that's another topic.)

Anyway, why make fun of someone who is learning to be an artist the same way the "critic" is learning to be a critic? Almost everything of significance created by someone under the age of 25 is essentially an imitation of the work of some adult the child admired.

Of course, the critic might argue that the criticism is directed toward those who take the work of a child seriously. I might listen to such an argument if I thought the author was also critical of adults who waste time and money on similarly derivative works by young reporters and critics. I doubt if that is true, though.

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