Art's Jerry Lewis | Letters | Chicago Reader

Art's Jerry Lewis 

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Dear Mr. Lazare,

Robert Guinan sent me by fax your article "No Room for Un-Conventional Art" [Culture Club] in Reader's of December 15.

I wish to confirm that everything you write about my meetings with the people of the Cultural Center is correct. I am pessimistic about the realization of a Guinan exhibit at the Center, even if we find the sponsors. By the way, this question was not raised by Mrs. Weisberg: Will they make the show if we find the sponsors? When I visited with them this past March I felt that Mrs. Maggie Daley was the only person there really enthusiastic about Guinan's work. With the exception of a visit, this summer, of the curator Gregory Knight on his way to Austria, I haven't ever since heard from anyone of the Cultural Center.

I also wish to add some information to what you already know about Guinan, mostly, I presume, from the excellent article published in Reader's of January 6, 1995, written by Harold Henderson.

Ever since I met Guinan in Europe in June 1972 and decided to work with him, I have tried, again and again through all these years, to find him a good gallery in the United States. I must admit that I did fail to convince my American colleagues to promote Guinan in his own country.

In 1989, I took a booth at the Chicago International Art Fair at Navy Pier. Half of my space was given to Guinan. I knew, at the time, many important collectors and dealers in Chicago. They welcomed me with warmth and friendliness. They hardly looked at Guinan's paintings. The following year--was it because of my choice of artists?--I was denied by the fair directors a booth. This is to say how it is incredibly difficult to introduce Guinan's work in America. However, there are some exceptions: William Liebermann, chairman for XXth Century Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, who accepted, for the museum, the gift from a collector of an important painting by Guinan and exhibited it for a while. Prior to this position, William Liebermann had been director of the department of drawings and prints at MOMA, New York, for many decades and purchased then, for the museum, a drawing by Guinan.

In France, in Europe, collectors, museum directors (Guinan is represented in the collections of three important French museums) do not understand why he is left on the side by his countrymen.

The president of the Art Institute, through a trustee, knows of the existence of Guinan, whose work could only be a valuable addition to the museum's collections.

I am convinced that the Chicago public would be thrilled with a show. It would be a popular success in great contrast with the prevailing imposed choices of an international arrogant pseudo-elite. (I know this will not help me to make friends!) Such a decision certainly requires courage and independence of spirit.

Yes, you are missing something in Chicago. It is right there, available. Grab it!

Albert Loeb

Paris, France

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