Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"A wilful act of vandalism"

More than two decade ago the well respected art critic Clement Greenberg had the art world in a turmoil over his treatment of a few David Smith sculptures.

During his life Smith had respected Greenberg and when the artist died Greenberg gained control of some of Smith's last sculptures. Smith had experimented with mixing painting and sculpture. Greenberg did not approve and had the works under his control, which Smith had given a coat of primer, placed outside to weather.

This was not the first time a sculpture painted by Smith had been altered. When a coat of red painted had been stripped from one of his works in the '60s, Smith had angrily denounced the action as, "a wilful act of vandalism."

Many of the buildings that were once part of the war veterans village have been left to rot. Others have been renovated to the point that they no longer have their original cottage look. There was an indoor swimming pool and a bowling alley among other amenities in the village. It was a remarkable little place sitting on rolling land on the southern edges of the city.

So here's the question: who are the vandals? The folk who paint graffiti over the walls and even roofs of the dilapidated structures or the folk who left the buildings to weather, to be stripped of their paint, to rot?

If you'd like to know more about the village, reporter Kate Dubinski and photographer Sue Reeve of The London Free Press have posted an article with photos on the paper's Website. See: 'Hidden gem' nears end.

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