us should be biennial!y given a “qualitativenoverview of current art actiityn… the cutting edge.” The bad prosengives you a good idea of what to expectnin the current Whitney Biennial,nwhere one of the few well-staged displaysncan only be seen in the women’snrestroom. Wiser visitors contentednthemselves with attacking the Camembertnmountain and refrained from asking,n”What does it mean?” But I canneat meaningless cheese at homen— which is where I should havenstayed.nAs might be expected in an invitationalnshow, most of the artists arenfrom New York. True, some of themnactually reside outside the city limits,nbut their work already suffers fromninner city attributes: farcical, outrageous,nand abstract in the extreme. Tonadd insult to injury, most of the remainingnartists (shall we say contributors?)nlive in California. Illinois didnha’e two contributors inited (just hownlarge is the city of Chicago?), as didnNew Mexico (obiously a fluke). Butnwhat does the entire state of Texasnthink about having only one contributor?nThe same goes for Pennsylvania,nMinnesota, and—this surprised men— Massachusetts. I would haventhought that the Whitney crowdnLetter FromnSouth Africanby Ewa M. ThompsonnI spent March 1985 in South Africa asna guest of several South African universities.nI lectured to academic audiences,ntraveled in the rural areas ofnTransvaal and the Cape Province,nspent a day in Soweto, visited thenCrossroads slum in Cape Town andnthe Black township of Alexandra innJohannesburg. I talked to Black servantsnand Black leaders, to Afrikanersn30/CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnwould have a few friends in Boston.nWhich brings us to some interestingnomissions, such as the apparently marginalnart worlds of Atlanta, Seattie,nand a few other towns that spring to mynprovincial mind. This show shouldnhave been called the WhitneynBicoastal Biennial.nThis bicoastal bias explains the preponderancenof film and video, stammeringnand blinking out of the void. Itnis disturbing when artists create culturalncriticism by using the very electronicnmedia which contribute to culturalndeterioration.nSculpture in the show suffered fromntoo much form and too littie content:nwooden constructions (badly carpentered)nthat are an insult to trees; patentlynsilly, mooning plaster people; aluminumnatrocities that look like a stacknof air-conditioning ducts. The onlyninteresting “sculptural” piece wasnrevealed—once I turned the cornern—as a forklift truck operated by anmaintenance crew.nPhotography fared een worse. Thentrite and murky images of the Whitneynphotographs contrasted viidly withnthe photographs in another currentnshow at the International Center ofnPhotography. Entitled “PhotographsnFrom the Sam Wagstaff Collection atnCORRESPONDENCEnand Anglos, to people representing thenthree major parties: Conservative, Progressive,nand Nationalist (presentiy innpower), and to those sympathizingnwith the outlawed African NationalnCongress. I formed several distinct impressionsnduring that trip.nSouth Africa is about as integratednas America was in the 1950’s and earlynI960’s. The new policy towards integrationnseems to be’an ongoing concernnof the Botha government. Buses,nairplanes, and shopping centers arenintegrated, and so are major universitiesnand most private schools on thennnthe J. Paul Getty Museum,” this exhibitionnfeatured selections from thenthousands of Wagstaff photographs recentlynpurchased by the Cett>’ Museum.nThe museum, which has nownacquired nine private collections, isnone of the few institutions where thenthree major influences in earlynphotography — French, British, andnAmerican—can be studied under onenroof.nThe beauty of Wagstafif’s photographsnat ICP is exactiy that—they arenbeautiful, for the most part. There arenthe famous pieces, such as RogernFenton’s dinosaur bones taken aboutn1853 at the British Museum, andnDali’s eerie collage of Marilyn Monroe’snface with that of Chairman Mao.nOther pieces, which project a morenuniversal quality, provide some provocativencomments on the humanncondition. The best known of these isnprobably Weegee’s leggy lad’ withnmoney on her mind, but a group ofnanonymous portraits from the turn ofnthe century are equally effective. Art ofnthe people, by the people, for thenpeople—may it never perish from thenearth. ccnSandra Sider is an art critic whonwrites from New York.nprimary and secondary level. Betternrestaurants and snack bars are integrated,nmedium-level restaurants are integratednin Cape Town but not in Johannesburg.nTrains and government-runnschools are not. Virtually all thosenwith whom I discussed the subject feltnthat South Africa is in a state of changenand that integration of all public facilitiesnis only a matter of time, as is thenabolition of laws prohibiting ‘ mixednmarriages. The whites grumble aboutnbut accept the huge increases in theirntax levels caused by Botha’s policy ofnupgrading Black education.n