Letters to the Editor

LETTERS Arena sculpture, Netanyahu’s speech

An artist’s rendering shows the proposed sculpture by world-renowned artist Jeff Koons at the new downtown arena plaza.
An artist’s rendering shows the proposed sculpture by world-renowned artist Jeff Koons at the new downtown arena plaza. Sacramento Kings

Wrong artist chosen for arena

Re “Arena sculpture selected” (Page A1, Feb. 27): Choosing this Jeff Koons sculpture for the downtown Kings arena could not have been more poorly thought out. The central core of Koons’ work is bright, shiny cynicism. Take something that is total kitsch and make it really big and really shiny, and nobody will notice that it ain’t art. Everything his factory produces is designed to be a finger in the eye of the art-aware public, which includes the eyes of his supporters and collectors. The new Kings arena and the surrounding development are intended to be manifestations of triumph. Cynicism to represent triumph? Is nobody thinking?

A Sacramento arts spokesperson said that Sacramento artists will benefit by having the work of an important New York artist here to compare themselves with. What? The only work artists should compare their work with is their own.

I have no problem with having a great, iconic sculpture that costs a lot of money to create excitement and draw thousands of people to Sacramento. I have no problem with having the funds go to a great sculptor from New York, Paris or Tokyo. But to choose a cynical artist whose greatest talent is attracting the naive through his celebrity would be terribly disappointing and damaging to my Sacramento.

Let’s not let the world think that Sacramento got the old razzle-dazzle. Let’s hope the people who make the final decision are not completely blinded by the sequins in their eyes.

Jerald Silva, Sacramento

Koons’ art is a bad deal

When I was a teenager, the Sacramento Kings were the best team they had been for many years. I recall the tile mosaics of Peja and Vlade at Sal’s Tacos in West Sac. While I was growing up, people always talked about how to make Sac a world-class city and lamented the lack of respect it got as a cultural center.

Spending $8 million on a statue by Jeff Koons is not the way to make Sacramento look like a center of the arts. When they built the Safeway on 19th Street, they tore down an awesome old mural of jazz musicians and replaced it with what many locals saw as a “golden calf,” the chrome horse which became an eyesore and target of resentment within the grid. Another monument to capitalism is not what Sacramento needs. If it cannot be a local artist, like Mel Ramos, Skinner, Jay Howell or someone from Horsecow or UC Davis, how about an uplifting artist? Or one with a serious academic reputation?

Koons would be a symbolic slap in the face not just to local artists, but to the local poor. Midtown and the Kings deserve better.

Benjamin Duax, New York

Sculpture is not an original

Re “Deal for public art at arena is too good to pass up” (Editorial, Feb. 27): While the idea that Sacramento needs an iconic, landmark piece of art is right on, the process and piece selected for the arena is not ideal. The lack of an open competition may seem like a small loss to a journalist or business committee, but it is an enormous loss for the artists that benefit from the process, as well as the beauty and originality of our community.

Let’s not be so short-sighted as to say it’s just the local artists that lose in this. True, the hundreds of local artists who make their living through the sale of art lost an incredible opportunity to be prominently featured in their own community. Who knows, we may have our very own future Jeff Koons living right here.

Even more importantly, however, the lack of open competition made this a narrow selection without original options from interested artists. Now Sacramento ends up with a wildly expensive, not one-of-a-kind piece of art.

Ingrid Nurse, Sacramento

Netanyahu’s divisive approach

Re “Federal lawmakers shouldn’t skip Netanyahu’s speech” (Editorial, March 3): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress eloquently spoke to the threat that would be posed by a nuclear-armed Iran to the world and particularly to Israel, which Iran has vowed to destroy. On this point, most Americans agree. Unfortunately, at this time when unity between America and Israel is so important, Netanyahu’s actions create division and discord between our two governments.

The Iranian regime will try to exploit this one way or the other. If negotiations fail, they will likely claim that the U.S. succumbed to supposedly unreasonable Israeli demands under political pressure. That would give Western Europe, Russia and China an excuse to backtrack on sanctions, enabling Iran to escape much of the impact of U.S. sanctions. Then, only Israeli and American military options would remain to block Iran’s road to nuclear arms, and we have seen that getting into wars is much easier than concluding them successfully.

Daniel Rabovsky, Sacramento

Please ignore Netanyahu

Israel is not a voting delegation of the United States. Someone should remind Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. I hope our members of Congress abstained from his bully pulpit antics.

I could not disagree more with his premise that somehow we are being misled by negotiating with Iran. Israel has many qualities, but being a fair and peace-seeking partner in Middle East foreign policy is not one of them.

I look forward to the civil and fruitful discourse to be had with Iran’s diplomatic core and our United States government.

Please ignore Netanyahu. I do.

Scott Ragsdale, Davis

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