To the Editors:
Jed Perl has some harsh and even telling things to say about the megashows at the Metropolitan (always easy game these days) in his piece on Velázquez in the November 1989 issue, but it seems to me that what he would substitute for them would be a sad loss for art lovers.
For he is one who thinks the planning of a show is more important than what is in it. The show itself is the work of art, a point of view, alas, all too common among curators today. Indeed, some of them see it as their raison d’être.
To Perl, “Fragonard’s butterfly-weight genius deserves butterfly-weight presentation”; only Zurbarán’s “Michelangelesque” paintings should be included in a Zurbarán show, and the “slick tricks of Boucher” do not warrant a retrospective at all. We must see only what Perl dictates. Well, thank God for Philippe de Montebello is all I can say! I want to see...