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WOID #III-50. Corrections to WOID review

[Mr. Trusky's comments have been edited]

On Wed, 26 Apr 2000, Tom Trusky wrote:
> Some corrections and comments regarding Paul T. Werner's review of my =
> James Castle show currently at AIGA in New York City:

Both are appreciated. The review (which was not published on the Book-Arts
List), is available on my web-site, given below. Both of us obviously take
the issue of "Outsider" art very seriously - as it deserves to be. I try
to pursue some of the points raised in the AIGA show in a forthcoming
review of "Psychiatric Inmate Art" at the Drawing Center.

> --The matchbook book the WOID reviewer suggests is not an artwork =
> (apparently because its contents are not shown?) is a miniature calendar =
> book.

Okay. Guilty as charged. It wasn't a "real" James Castle, just supporting
evidence. Since the show tried to validate *everything* Castle did or
owned as an artwork it was hard to tell the objects apart.

> --The exhibit does not suggest that Castle was "crazy."

Of course not. And those quote marks were mine. The exhibit does make
assumptions about Castle which I find equally offensive.

> The exhibit suggests the autodidact was a genius =
> at communicating in visual modes other than writing.  Although he could =
> read and write.

Hey, we agree. That's what I thought the exhibit was trying to do. I
happen to disagree with the suggestion, is all. In fact, that's exactly
what I found offensive - and patronizing.

> --The reviewer makes what he calls "irrelevant" remarks to the effect that =
> there might not have been a James Castle who did not create the remarkable =
> books on exhibition at AIGA (hinting that some of the books on display are =
> fraudulent--"the newsprint in this show is remarkably well preserved").

Fraud has nothing to do with it - I was hoping the whole show was a prank,
but that would require crediting its curator with a terrific sense of
humor. As for there being or not a "real" James Castle, let me put that in
terms that any critic or curator can understand: "James-Castle-the-Genius
is the fictional construct of a misplaced discourse of alterity." Okay?

> Such remarks reveal the reviewer spent as much time studying the 100 books =
> in the exhibition as he advises visiting it:  a half-hour.

Or as James McNeil Whistler put it: "twenty minutes of work - and a
lifetime of practice!"

Paul Werner, New York City

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