`RED ART’ ONSLAUGHT HOT Dallas Museum Stands Firm for Art on Its Merit as Art; ‘Patriotic’ Leader Says Actual Communism Not at Issue DALLAS The Dallas Museum of Fine Arts still the object of public attacks because a forthcoming exhibition of sports paintings includes works by four artists some critics call “Reds” has re-stated its determination to go on with the exhibition. “It is important once and for all time to dissipate this nonsense that any single group.in our community is the custodian of the patriotism of the rest of us,” three museum directors said in a letter last week. They condemned “book bUrningthought control, condemnation without trial …. guilt by association.” Colonel Alvin M. Owsley, spokesman for the Dallas Patriotic Council which is attacking the museum for planning to show the Sports Illustrated-sponsored touring exhibit, says this is the issue: “Shall the taxpayers’ money be used and spent. to provide a place for the exhibition or the works of art produced by Reds ? This does not mean that the artist has to be a communist people are communists or not. Nobody ever will know.” The museum trustees, in a decision by the Majority, haS declared its policy “to exhibit and acquire works of art only on the basis of their merit as works of art; and to exercise their. best judgment to protect the integrity of the museum as a museum of art and as a municipal institution.” -Owsley threatens to “take it to the Some Thoughts on Bullfighting people” and ask the City. Council to call for an electiom on the issue. as he puts it : “Are you for or against the exhibition of Red at at the Dallas COLONEL 0 WS LE Y, the spokesman for the patriotic council, puts the matter this way: ‘ “We feel confident that the Dallas Park Board will not allocate the taxpayers’ money to provide an for the Reds, if they know it. “This is the question for the people . of Dallas to decide : Shall the taxpayers? money be used-and spent to provide a place for the exhibition of the works of art produced by Reds? “This does not mean that the artist has to be a communist or thatt,he has been before the Committee ‘on UnAmerican Activities and found guilty, or that he has sought the protection of the Fifth Amendment. Nobody knows if these people are communists or not. Npbody ever will know. “But the record pins these four artists–principally Ben Shalesas COMnrunist fronters.’ An artit who uses tsis talent to actyanee the causesof subversive or communist organizations which have been denounced by the Committee on Un-American Activities of Congress or the Attorney General A Poem Why I Am a Liberal Robert Brozvning, 1885 “Why?” Because ah I haply can and do Ali that I am now, all I hope to he e -eWhence comes it-stve ,from fortune setting free eet s -is s e Body and souPillApsirne: to pursue, -God traced for s _ ‘If:fetters, not a few, Of prejudice, ,dOnverition fall from me, These should I bid nae.tteach in his degree Also God-guidedbear, and gayly too? But little do or can the best of us: That little is achieved thro’ Liberty. Who then dares hold, emancipated thus, His fellow shall continue bound? Not I Who live, love, labour freely, nor. discuss A brother’s right to freedom. That is “Why.” \(Written in answer to a queStion, Why . I am a Liberal?, sent , by Cassell and Co is dangerous to the life of America. “Our guns are ‘leveled against the Reds when they use our Dallas Musewn to further the cause of communism and the destruction of our coun Owsley said that Shahn is a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, which he said the Ili fornia Committee on Un-American Activities, in a 1948 report, called “a communist front for writers, artists, and musicians.” He said the Institute had “denounced the Thomas Committee of Congress investigating un-American activities in America”; that the Com nist People’s Daily World of Feb.. 27, 1948, had reported this that Kroll had signed the Institute’s dentinciation of the committee. JEROME CROSSMAN, a member of the museum’s board, said . “Colonel Owslvs is going to be the judge and the jury himself by taking unauthenticated records of the House Un-Ainerican Activities Committee;and other agencies where principles of American justice have not been followed in a.djudicating guik or innocence. “The principle of Article Six of the Bill of Rights . . is that every mats on trial is presumed innocent until he is found guilty by due processes of law.” Another trustee, C;erald C. Mann, pointed out that murals ba’ r Shahn, and Zorach decorate principal governmental buildings in Washington and have not been challenged. in a letter sent to 2,000 civic leaders of Dallas, trustees Crossman, Maim, AUSTIN 4 conversation today brings to the top of my mind main faith and. hope that daily work leaves no time for usually. I share with all of .you a :simple horror of ma-examined patriotismnot only the last refuge of scoundrels but also the first refuge of fools. But I feel too that we in the Southwest who snicker at the braggart of Our place and time go too far in idolizing the East. ‘rincipat y I believe that Texas aesthetes, intellectuals, who are ashamed of Texas, embarassed by the nouveau riche and the political primitive, the susceptibility of the people to gross fear symbols, the long shadow of the stallion and the stetson that falls over the best that our best people write, need to he embarassed by their ernbarassment. Where do you live and work ? In a city office ? In a farm field? Have you eve been out to Caddo Lake ? Cypress trees rise from the amber waters, carved and twisted idpls, rooted in a. misty time of Indians and water hyacinths, Leadbelly’s chtah ‘yard grave, a fisherman’s rotting whisky still. Do you notice the snatchy stories in the press every once in a while about a shriiupboat caught in a storm off the Texas coast, and bodies washing up. Once I was driving to Port Isabel and piked up a h itch-hiking shrimper. He said the other shrimpers live in a world of their own, go out six weeks and stash up their earnings, come in, drink, make love, lie up in their rooms, extend their credit to its outer elasticity, go out on the boat again, lonely with one or two others, working in the day and night, cooking, hauling in nets, sharing the heading. One night in. Corpus Christi in a coffee shop up the hill from the marina I struck across a grizzled little and Waldo Stewart stated that tax funds were used for museum maintenance but not for the purchase of worlca of art. They said the “Sport. in Art” exhibit was put together by the American Federation of Arts, one of the most respected att organizations the country, had jnst ‘completed* showing at the Corcoran Gallery Washington, and is scheduled for a tour of Australia after its U.S. showship. The letter also said: “The Dallas ArtsAssociation is not concerned milli or empowered to conduct judicial investigations to :determine the political affiliations, religion, or personal credos of any individuals whose work is exhibited at the Museum. “Two of America’s most respected. art institutions, the Metropolitan Museum of New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, own and exhibit the works of the four artists in question. “These two Museums and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, owned and operated by the United States Government, own and exhils’ works by Picasso, a self-acclaimed communist. We can find no justification for establishing a policy for the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts that would be in complete contradiction to the, accepted standards’ of America’s most conservative and . importer art institutions. the fundamental issue at stake is that of Freedom and .Libertynot just for the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, but eventually for our school system, our free press, our library, our. orchestra, and the many -other institutions of our society. We believe that Democracy cannot survive if sublected to . book-burning-ethaught _control, condemnation without trial, proclamation of guilt by associationthe very techniques of the Communist -and. Fascist egimes.” man who said he was inn frona_Wyoming where he worked on a ranch and was looking now for a shrimper going out. What are the ways and the trusts of a modern man yet itinerant on both ranches and the sea ? I have always thought that Kilgore must be a town worth understanding. Can you imagine a. city of afew thousand with 1,200 oil derricks inside its city limits? At twilight you think you are in a dream of spokes, ladders, receding spires. ‘ The other day, the day after I testified before the Longview grand jury for which locked-in lobotomy on the East Texas mind I would gladly have served a week in jailI met an _old friend, so to speak, Dr. Masters, and ‘a group of five other men, all , of th\( Citizens’ Council ilk, eongregathig convention-like in the street door of the Randolph. Hotel at Henderson. There are other kinds, too, on the racial issue there, “neo-Babbitts” and neo-Galikos, both in the modern world of individualism-compressing forces frighteningly close in what they say to be so far in what they .believe.. Near there not long ago in a house some of us outsiders from Austin sat toward early morning while a daughter back from the East and the fine finishing schools tore her mother, her tradition mantled, tradition hating mother, into the fine shreds only a daughter can make of her mother. We others sat helpless while the mother was racked and torn by her thne’s own confronted pasiness and her knowledge of it, knowledge there was zip .gainsaying as long as she .kept the Negro cook standing in the kitchen – and the cook’s little girl sitting on a hardbacked chair there doing nothing. The Southwest is full of beginnings as fitful as these, as uncut, as foreboding, as exciting. THE’ TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 February 15, 1956 \( Bull fighting is outlawed in Texas. In a recent column, “What’s Inhuman?” Clarence LaRoche, managing. editor of the San Antonio Express, raised It’s funny how the squeamish among us have contrived to pass laws and regulations to prohibit bull-fighting in ‘ Texas. `Cruel,’ bloody,”inhuman,’ say those opposed to the .great taurine art. Many of these detractors do not Mind packing a rifle and trudging on off to shoot defenseless deer. Now, we certainly are not opposed to the sport of. deer hunting. But, we feel; if bull-fighting. is considered cruel, bloody and inhuman, deer-slaying also falls in the i same category. And. there are other American cruelties that might .be considered parallel : .recently, we saw a picture where men and yotiths were having a gay time clubbing thousands of defenseless jackrabbits to death. The British, who consider Spanishstyle bull-fighting quite cruel., find nothing wrong with their sport of fox hunting … nor of the nasty ritual that initiates youngsters into the sport. London’s Sunday Pictorial recently reported that twelve children were `blooded’ after their first fox hunt in Yorkshire. This ‘blooding’ ceremony takes place when the still warm blood o f a fox is smeared on the cheek of the newcomer to the sport. Thus, the Spaniards reply that a hull fight cannot be considered as inhumane as a fox hunt and that the Britons \(and many Americans and for criticism. It takes infinitely more courage for a man to face a ton of wild, charging, sharp-horned beast than it does for a pack of men, women and children to ride fleet horses after a .poor little ol’ fox. Which reminds us that there is a good bull fight scheduled for Nuevo Laredo come Sunday, Feb. 19, as part OT that city’s -role in helping Laredo stage the colorful annual. George Washington Birthday Celebration. Time, Inc., the parent publication’ of -Sports Illustrated, informed the museum directors that the four artists in questionBen Shahn, William Zorand Leon Krollare not listed in the files of the subversive activities control board in Wa.shington; that none of them has ever been identified’as a cominunist before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee; and s that none of them have appeared as wi tne sse.s be f ore it. Owsley says the four artists, “principally Ben Sisalm,” ate “commuzaist fronters.” The Dallas Times-I-Jerald, in addition to reporting comments on both sides of the dispute, published about three columns of six-point material on the four mete preceded in each case with a states rent that the information isras from the “public records, files, and publications” of the House committee and : “It should be noted that the individual is not necessarily a communist, a cornnamatist sarrripathirer; or fellow-traveler unless otherwise indicated.” .Shalm was recently granted a visa by the U.S. State Department, and is now in England lecturing at the invitation of the Tate Gallery. None of the paintings under challenge are on political subjects. SOME BEGINNINGS R. D.
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