January 22-29, 2007

We Are Going to Hate Them
Ariel Levy’s “Chasing Dash Snow” [January 15] is further proof of the decline and fall of New York’s art world. Its causes are clear: As money pours in, actual art is swamped by a Niagara of dealers, critics, and collectors all looking for the Next Big Thing. What we’re left with is a parody of the old avant-garde ideal. Modernist innovation is overrun by a fetish for youth: Warhol’s kids doing their thing in front of the camera. It’s all rather dispiriting, no matter how handsome the face or famous the pedigree.
—Alex Taylor, Manhattan

The irony in Ariel Levy’s cover story is that people like Dash Snow are not reviving the downtown art scene but are actually the embodiment of its demise. There is nothing new or original about reckless, graffiti-writing rich kids who pretend to be poor. Getting high, jerking off, and ripping up phone books—this is what we call a bohemian superstar?
—Melody Boyce, Manhattan

Ryan McGinley: Studied, true, raw talent. Dan Colen: Tall guy with the unbuttoned shirt. Dash Snow: Proof that New York will always have a silly obsession with celeb royalty and the drama that follows it.
—Stefani Shock, Astoria

Lawful After All
I’d like to clarify comments I made in Sia Michel’s article regarding Sleepwalkers, which is being projected on the surfaces of the Museum of Modern Art this month [“Art: MoMA Does a Drive-In,” January 15]. My comments suggested that our filming in an old subway tunnel on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn was not permitted: We obtained all of the requisite permits for all locations used in Sleepwalkers, including that one.
—Doug Aitken, Venice, Calif.

A Puppy for All Times
Thanks for your great article on dogs [Strategist: The Everything Guide to Getting a Dog,” by Rosencrans Baldwin, January 15]. It applies to dog seekers everywhere. I work with a no-kill animal shelter and wish people would do their homework before getting a dog. Most dogs in shelters are there because of behavioral issues as a result of owners’ lack of research into lifestyle and training options. Approximately 8 million dogs (and cats) end up in shelters every year, and of those, about 4 million are euthanized. Your article will help people find their best friend forever. Thank you from a rescuer.
—Lizbeth Carlson, Chandler, Ariz.

Mr. Tendentious
I’m an old Norman Mailer fan, despite his pugilistic and verbal assaults on whomever, wherever [“Books: Mr. Tendentious,” by Boris Kachka, January 15]. I have even long admired his antics (mostly at wild Provincetown parties in the sixties). Nonetheless, I must take issue with his attack on Michiko Kakutani. He says the Times editors “can’t fire her because they’re terrified of her,” and attributes that to her being “Asiatic” and a feminist. Yet she is also a brilliant, candid critic, not unlike Ann Midgette and Maureen Dowd, who, though not Asian, are also tough, candid critics.
—Les Dreyer, Manhattan

A National Odyssey
We were disheartened by Gogo Lidz’s personal odyssey through what she clearly perceives to be the labyrinth of modern child and adolescent psychiatry [“My Adventures in Psychopharmacology,” January 8]. Unfortunately, such tales are increasingly common, in large part owing to our health-care system, which allows precious little physician-patient face time and requires a diagnosis on the first visit. We fear that stories such as Lidz’s will steer families away from seeking the care they need.
—Melissa Nishawala, M.D., and Jess Shatkin, M.D., M.P.H., Manhattan

More Reasons to Love
In your “Reasons to Love” issue, Arianne Cohen’s “Because We Like to Watch” was perfect [December 25, 2006]. I spend hours looking out my Park Slope windows, making up stories about my backyard neighbors, and it never gets boring. New York is the city for voyeurs.
—Carlene Scheel, Brooklyn

January 22-29, 2007