Draft of a letter to editor of Palo Alto Post about how stupid they are in their reporting on public art

Dear Editor:

I’m beginning to wonder why you mention Bo Crane so many times in your paper —especially second to last page, or cover three, or Page 11 — when you didn’t for example mention Manuel Neri (b. 1930) a famous artist and more newsworthy, with due respect, to both you and Bo, and I know Bo, than Bo. Why?

Manuel Neri is a famous artist and is influenced by Nathan Oliveira, also a famous artist, who taught at Stanford for many years but died recently. His son Joe was a classmate of mine at Gunn and now manages the Oliveira extant work. I am pretty certain that Oliveira the senior was a principal advisor to the Anderson’s, Hunk and Moo as many called them, in their art purchases. I didn’t really meet them but was a couple times in the same room with them for certain art events. My wife knew them slightly. My wife a former Palo Alto Arts Commissioner, Terry Acebo Davis. Terry and I once toured the Anderson collection selection up on Sand Hill.

The Anderson’s did a wonderful thing to donate this collection to Stanford, who in turn followed suit by building a great building to house and show such.

The Neri that you pictured in your contest feature was of course outside the Anderson. There are actually seven or so works in this display, which may or may not be part of the collection per se. (The sign said, I think, some were donated by Hackett Gallery). They are cast and plaster, a typical Neri look, and all female, also fairly indicative of his work. (As compared to George Segal, which you can also see on campus: dudes, not nudes).

The Cantor of course is also a wonderful community resource, and there is a public art collection of note on the Stanford campus (Rodin, DiSuveros, Goldsworthy, Bruce Beaslys, and Moore). Cantor is named for the same people as the famous Wall Street money firm, and it is also noteworthy that the museum building featured one of the earliest noteworthy traits about the Stanford University, a collection of botanic samples (i.e. David Starr Jordan was a biologist)

My point is that it is kind of lame, methinks, and lazy to just say “These five Post readers whom we name by name guessed correctly that Bo’s photo was something art -ike and not real of a skinny white chick” or however you put it (i.e. without naming the artist — that’s not such a high bar — there is a plaque. Like I hinted, I know Bo Crane, who is a Stanford and Paly grad and am quite certain that if you put the task to him he’d easily comply with naming artists and even the name of the piece where relevant.

Your coverage of public art in this Page 11 feature would be like putting on page 1 something like “A lady with a wig was at City Hall from 7 to 12 Monday night and said she liked housing a lot’. I think your readers are smarter than that and want more. I know Palo Altans generally are.

Mark Weiss

p.s. My photo, of Duffy with a Neri, is also derivative of or an allusion to William Wegman. And yes a guard (named Germany) warned me about not touching the work. I live about 1.3 miles from the Cantor and it took me about 30 minutes of gumshoeing and natter 45 or so to put words to paper. Feel free to edit as you see fit. (not pictured)

edit to add: fact-checking this essay, from two weeks and aeons ago, I added a link to Anderson Collection homepage but also noted that there is a Philip Guston drawing on display they say in the front hall gallery of the museum and they also have a glimpse of the more ambitious and significant Guston “the Overcoat” which I was tripping over (figuratively speaking) recently but a whiles (aeons and aeons) back. I also, while collection signatures for my Palo Alto City Council candidacy just yesterday, met a man named Rench (and Sack) from Barron Park who wrote his thesis aon Nabokov and I namecheck Elif Batuman for or at him. Also, meaning to get to Pace to seek Tim Hawkinson, I can swede that in as well. Did I mention I am running for office? Or walking briskly at least. But also hiding from world in dark for 90 minutes to kill the Monday morn. I’m here all week. lwatcdr.


Not manual Mary nor Joanne Brown but nice people father and daughter she a singer off to college at McAllister in St. Paul Hannah posing with my Duffy



Tim Hawkins and show at pace Palo Alto I am anxious to see you this week maybe today and they also always wonder if he was related to my math teacher Hawkins and a gun

Tim Hawkinson show at Pace Palo Alto I am anxious to see you this week maybe today and  always wonder if he was related to my math teacher Hawkinson at Gunn.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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