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Feedback 9/26

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New translations

In her article "Voice Matters," Rachael Crawford stated that translations of classic literature have been male dominated. There are signs of change. There is a new translation of "The Odyssey" by academic Emily Wilson. According to New York Times editor Susan Chira, this is the first translation of this work by a woman, and she calls it "a revelation." Hope this is just the beginning.

DAVID STORCK

Otterness and MAG

According to a recent news article, a limestone sculpture in the Memorial Art Gallery's Centennial Sculpture Park has begun to disintegrate and the museum arranged with the artist to cast a replacement in bronze. Normally, that would be good news, ensuring that the art work would have a long life.

Then I saw whose sculpture it was, and I wished that they'd left the damn thing alone and let the weather do to the piece what the MAG's director and board should have done in the first place: get rid of it. The work in question is part of Tom Otterness's "Creation Myth."

Otterness is the artist who, seeking to expand the horizons of his "art," took a dog from a rescue pound, shot it, filmed its death agonies, made a video loop of the atrocity, and presented his masterpiece to the world as the "Shot Dog Film".

When MAG announced in 2010 that Otterness had been commissioned to create a sculpture for their park, a public outcry ensued. MAG's director tried to justify matters by arguing that Otterness had apologized for his youthful indiscretion and was now regarded (by some) as a leading American artist.

In response, it was pointed out that he was 25 years old at the time and that his apology came 30 years after the fact, and that while his ability as an artist could be debated, his actions as a human being could not. Seeking to clear the air, a public meeting with the MAG director, board, and Otterness was requested. The request was ignored. As was the fact that New York City and San Francisco had elected to pull Otterness's commissions when they learned of his animal abuse.

Given the above, and given that the previous MAG director had stated, "We feel that Tom created this [controversy] and he needs to find a way to fix it with the public," an admonition that Otterness has never heeded, it would have seemed that the decomposing statuary had presented the current MAG director and board with a unique opportunity to revisit the issue and publicly discuss whether the work should be replaced or the entire "Creation Myth" removed. Sadly, no discussion was forthcoming, and this moral blemish on the community's reputation was quietly given a new lease on life.

Clearly, in working to reduce Otterness's sculpture into a pile of limestone rubble, Mother Nature displayed far better judgment, far more compassion, and a far better sense of justice than the past and current directors and board of the Memorial Art Gallery.

MICHAEL J. NIGHAN

A Collins drag?

On our report on Chris Collins running for Congress: Collins will only be an "unwanted guest" in the GOP if he loses on Election Day which, given the demographics of his district and the gullibility of Republicans, seems unlikely.

SONNY WILLIAMS

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