Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Rodger LaPelle Hangs Art, Not Artists - P.A.W. Print - Philadelphia Arts Writers

Rodger LaPelle Hangs Art, Not Artists - P.A.W. Print - Philadelphia Arts Writers: "The Quakers (who used to dress as if they were Hassidic) never really liked art, either. They had long ago instituted an ordered, subdued place for art, the buying of which was encouraged by the new nation as the practice of a patriotic conspicuous consumption. The Quakers were the first earners in Pennsylvania, whose patronage of the arts was frugal but now reflected their growing buying power. For instance, they celebrated their fortune by purchasing a Millet farm scene for the living room, which was never anything risqu or maudlin. Their expenditures never grew beyond a level at which the Society of Friends would begin to judge the purchasers to be frivolous. In other words, in the absence of passionate themes, wild explorations of the canvas with Fauve colors and huge, dedicated budgets, art in Philadelphia remained blas and undeveloped." wrote Delvecchia

LaPelle must think that Quakers still think like the one depicted on the Quaker Oat box. LaPelle seems to be promoting religious bigotry. Why blame a small religious sect for the lack of energy in the current Philadelphia art world. Digby Baltsel, the husband of Jane Piper wrote in his book about this theme. The problem with this thinking is that it removes from blame the role of the wealthy catholic, protestant and Jewish members of the community. Did the Quakers stop Dr. Barnes, Mr Smith or the Montgomery family from supporting the Barnes Foundation, Woodmere or PMA? Did the Quakers stop the Calder family from making the sculptures that line the Parkway? If there are Quakers who don't support his art then he should just find people who do and stop making hate speech.


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