Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Art, Politics, Racism Revisited After Publishing Letter Critical of BCFA's Exhibit of Artist Mark Clark

"Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now"

"My Back Pages," Bob Dylan

Mark Clark, Artist,
Owner of Galleria 409
When this blog published a letter from two Hispanic artists to the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts, critical of the museum's decision to exhibit the work of artist Mark Clark, we received a substantial amount of feedback, particularly on Facebook.

Bill Young
Longtime local newscaster, Bill Young, who also happens to be the father of the Cameron County Republican Chair, Morgan Graham, described the viewpoint expressed by artists Celeste de Luna and Nansi Guevara as "liberal/progressive fascism," a phrase frequently used by Fox News' Sean Hannity to describe those who try to "smear President Trump."

Jack White

Jack White, Interim Director of the Good Neighbor Settlement House with a long association at UT-RGV, stated in defense of the exhibit:  "Gee...I will have to attend in support of an open society."

When Alix Torres told White that, "as a white man," he couldn't "get it," White responded:  "You are can I comprehend that culture? But to bar my expression would be inconsistent with enumerated freedoms. It's your choice to take a position...."

Juan Fidencio Trevino,
Publisher of the Brownsville Bright
Juan Fidencio Trevino, publisher of a local blog, Brownsville Bright, felt that artist Clark was taking a "step out of (his) lane" to "represent a bit of culture that an educated and talented indigenous individual should be presenting. . . "

Trevino continued his line of thought:  "The thing is, here, you have an outsider to the culture, albeit a nice guy from what I've seen, benefitting from information that those who pertain to said culture have not had the opportunity or the luxury to learn and cherish."

There were many other cogent comments from Mary S. Rey, Teresa Saldivar, Maggie Galvan, Johnny Chingaz, Saul del Angel, Israel Galindo and others.

Eduardo del Rio
Eduardo del Rio, a UT-RGV professor, originally from Havana, Cuba, countered Juan Fidencio Trevino's arguments with:  "Those two things are not mutually exclusive. Both are possible, and needed. Instead of criticizing and claiming "cultural appropriation," we should celebrate Anyone's effort to educate others on art and culture, regardless of the artist's race or ethnicity."

Josie del Castillo
One local Hispanic artist, Josie Del Castillo, made a Facebook statement in support of Clark:  "I want to give a big thank you to Mark Clark for giving me the opportunity to work on my paintings at his gallery. He helped me frame my work, invited me for dinner, and had a lot fun talking about art and artists. He is truly a great man! I am very thankful for everything he has helped me with."

While Ms. Del Castillo includes several styles of personal work on her Facebook page, we submit an example of her "reflective art," a self-portrait:


  1. Maya, Aztec, Olmeca or Tolteca Cultures are not exclusive of any race or nation, those two Ladies opinion about Mr. Clark paints, could be the result of a very profound interpretation of certain hidden hints as offensive (the adding of personal details making fun, like, the meaning of the withe and red rope around the waist of a naked torso of a woman in one of the paintings) to the culture, or tow very egoist envious mediocre artists, trying to get some attention

  2. You all have too much time on your hands. Use your love of writing for something positive.

  3. Race is equal to inbreeding, the more of a Heinz 57 you are the better metaphorically, physically and intellectually. Stir the pot.

  4. Viva Mark Clark! Aztec Warrior ese! Doing more for the Aztec culture than the people who claim to be descendants of the Aztecs! And yes, I am Mexican American, but don't claim, or brag to be Aztec!

  5. I've known Mark Clark for almost 50 years and he is the finest, most pure artist I can think of. A love of place brought him to Brownsville, which is very much tied to his love of the culture there that he expresses through his work. It's all about the love, folks, that and the fact that he will always be the coolest guy in any room that he walks into.
    Roddy Frantz, singer, Urban Verbs



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