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In Lively's Work,Biz Trumps ArtI found Amy Biegelsen's article ("Masterpiece Theater," Cover Story, June 21) on Matt Lively, the businessman who apparently makes a decent living selling other people's paintings, amazing. Absolutely amazing.
I was amazed when, on the first page, I found these two statements: "Matt's [as opposed to Matthew's] where I give people what they want and make money," and then, "In order to preserve his artistic integrity " I had no idea these two lines could coexist so closely on the page! If that weren't enough, there was this gem: "In order to avoid financial hardship, Lively's forced to do paintings he thinks are boring." I'm not sure whose idea the word "forced" was here, but the pathetic nature of its use is obvious. (By the way, if you're bored doing the work, rest assured, the work's boring.)
Lively states, perhaps attempting to be prophetic, "The art of making a living is a lot more interesting than an individual painting." I saw his last show. The statement should have read, "The art of making money is a lot more interesting than any of my individual paintings."
So, this genius makes $120 K a year with his Bed and Bath pictures, and McDonald's makes a hell of a lot with its cheap hamburgers. Fair enough. (Maybe "Creative Financing" would've been a better title for the article?) But, to redirect the article's quest for answers to the mystery of this clown, I'll say this: Art never co-opts commerce. Never. If that's the issue, you're talking about another subject, and Lively talking about his "artistic" side through the smog of his larger business intentions is like a 400-pound guy talking about teaching aerobics. He's artistically illegitimate by his very nature.
But in defense of his use of the pen names he "hides in" and applies to the various pieces, I finally saw a legitimate angle. When a discerning viewer stands before one of his lifeless works and comments on its uninspired banality, Lively can stand off in the corner, shrug his shoulders and proclaim, "I didn't do it."
Diamond Is Hardly a JewelAs a former resident of the Richmond area, as well as an avid baseball fan, I read with interest the article on The Diamond ("Polishing The Diamond," Arts & Culture, July 5). I found it a well-written article ... until I reached the last paragraph.
How anybody can call The Diamond a "jewel" is totally incomprehensible. The fact of the matter is The Diamond is a dump. It is widely scorned as the worst ballpark in all of Triple-A baseball, bar none. The contest isn't even close.
One need not be a walking baseball encyclopedia to recall the recent calamities that have befallen The Diamond: drainage problems that almost got the Braves' franchise revoked by the league, electrical problems that knocked out the scoreboard, structural problems manifested by falling concrete. The list goes on and on. Let it be said, however, that the current structure may well be beyond renovation.
When the folks in my hometown, Syracuse, N.Y., wanted to build a new stadium, they visited a number of other facilities, The Diamond included. When they returned from their visit to Richmond, their report stated in essence:"The Diamond is a perfect example of how not to build a ball park"; they were that appalled with what they saw.
In Syracuse they built a facility that has often been called a knockoff of Harbor Park in Norfolk. Because it has an artificial surface (something I do not necessarily endorse), it is in use from early April to the end of November not bad when you consider the harsh winter climate there.
Richmond has long been a mainstay of the International League. Its fans are among the most knowledgeable and most loyal in organized baseball. Richmond needs baseball, and the International League needs Richmond.
I would use the large parking lot next to The Diamond, build a completely new facility, and then bulldoze The Diamond. The debate has gone on long enough. It is time now for action.
Councilwoman of No UseIs it just me, or is there a serious disconnect in leadership when a councilperson dismisses concerns over neighborhood improvements as "hemming and hawing" in the aftermath of a tragedy that killed innocent people and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage ("Will Shockoe Bottom Get $4.9 Million Makeover?" Street Talk, July 5)?
With the influx of residents, restaurants and retail, Shockoe Bottom is well on its way, sadly no thanks to an invisible representative that has done nothing to help or get us to this point. Thanks anyway.