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TO NOVEMBER 1
As a populist hero with virtually no credibility among those in the art world who don’t have their hands in the till, Fernando Botero generally attracts a big newspaper’s second- or third-string writer. Sure enough, last week the ÆUL2ØPost sent Jo Ann Lewis to take in King Tubby’s display of bronzes near the Ellipse. But the customary practice is to write a bloodless, preferably photo-heavy feature about how big the sculptures are, how much they weigh, how much they cost, and how much they are adored by folks who generally have little use for art. (This was basically the approach favored by current ÆUL2ØPostie Esther Iverem when she wrote about the sculpture three years ago for ÆUL2ØNew York Newsday.) So it’s little short of inexplicable that Lewis dumped self-respect and gave Botero a hearty butt-kiss of a welcome—with full penetration. She delivered Medellin, Colombia’s, second most pernicious export a fawning, camcorder-wielding fan and favorable comparison to the sculpture of antiquity, as well as providing a soapbox from which the LeRoy Neiman of sculpture could protest his rough treatment at the hands of most U.S. critics (it’s tempting to call Botero the LeRoy Neiman of painting as well, but for obvious reasons that title must be denied him). Apparently we snobs “have chided him for never changing the distinctive, bloated style that has been such a winner for him.” Let’s get this straight. The problem is not that Botero’s style is stale—it’s that it is ÆUL2Øbad. We don’t want him to change, we want him to quit. Exhibited in President’s Park, Constitution Ave. between 15th & 17th Sts. NW. FREE. (202) 458-6018. (Glenn Dixon)