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Interpretation of 'History of Santa Monica Murals' is Subjective

September 20, 2017

Dear Editor,

The effort of Noah Arthur Bardach, Ph. D. to condemn Wil South's (also a Ph. D.)defense of the "History of Santa Monica" murals at City Hall is misleading at the very least and perhaps intentionally and even dishonestly so

(See "A Colorful Piece of Santa Monica’s Cultural Life Could Be Lost," September 18, 2017 and "Murals with Racially Insensitive Message Have No Place in City Hall," September 19, 2017.)

The murals of Stanton Macdonald-Wright are art and, as with all art, beauty and its interpretation are in the eyes of the beholder.

Bardach's assault on the murals and South's defense is premised on Bardach's unsupported conclusion that Macdonald-Wright was somehow 'racist' because South concedes that the man has his biases. But here is how South characterized those biases:

"Indeed, he had his obsessions. He hated to be wrong, and could be mocking of other artists and art movements. He was both a maverick organizer for the arts, and at the same time an elitist.'

Those biases are hardly evidence of 'racism' but only indicative of the typical petty conceit of many artists and those conceits are not uncommon among artists of all races and gender -- again, a typical elitism far different that racism.

Several members of the Santa Monica Arts Commission over many years -- liberals and progressives to the core -- have displayed that same elitist arrogance.

In fact, South continued his defense of the artwork by pointing out that Macdonald-Wright taught and mentored artists of many races and gender -- likely believing those students were far superior to those taught and mentored by others; and thus members of the elite class.

WPA works are themselves of important historical significance and that justifies their preservation

Kip Dellinger
Santa Monica
Roosevelt, Lincoln and Samohi


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