Here is my response to the letter from Mary Ann Durand regarding the new sculpture in Pritchard Park [“A Classical Dilemma, March 26].
Thanks to the city and the artist who created the sculpture, which now stands in Pritchard Park, for adding some zest and visual excitement to downtown Asheville. In her letter, Ms. Durand worries that “the Asheville art community is attempting to be part of … any form which is in vogue.” I would like to quell her concerns.
“Modern” sculptures like the one recently installed downtown, far from being currently in vogue, have rather been in New York and every other major city in this country since the 1960s, if not earlier. Modernism itself is rooted in the 1910s, some attributing its beginnings to the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich. If Ms. Durand would like to know what is currently in vogue, she should have seen the giant topiary of a puppy by Jeff Koons, which was installed in Rockefeller Center (temporarily) in 2000.
As for the bronze statues of dancing girls and such, which Ms. Durand refers to as the “classical” style: Though these may be inoffensive crowd-pleasers, they certainly bear no resemblance to Classicism—neither Greek nor Roman—which generally refers to what would now be considered very idealized nudes. And this should come as a relief to some: They are most definitely not in vogue.
I certainly would choose the recent sculpture in Pritchard Park over many of the facile pieces scattered about downtown. And I would also applaud any attempt by our city government to ensure that Asheville does not become The Land that Modernism (and Post-Modernism!) Forgot.
— Constance Lombardo