Friends of Aesthetic Realism
       Countering the Lies
“It’s a lie, and not a well told one at that.
  It grins out like a copper dollar.”

                  —Abraham Lincoln

Statement by Vincent DiPietro, Computer Associate—City of New York / Photographer

As to the lie about Dorothy Koppelman.

I am a student of the Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel and I am also a photographer who, for a number of years, has had the pleasure of taking The Critical Inquiry class taught by artist and consultant of Aesthetic Realism Dorothy Koppelman. Recently a malicious attack against her and her class was printed on a website; it is by some anonymous liar who allegedly attended her class for 6 or 7 sessions.    This dear woman, along with her husband Chaim Koppelman, is a pioneer in art criticism and uses as her basis for teaching the Critical Inquiry class Eli Siegel's "Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?" —a work first published in 1955 and which, along with the Terrain Gallery founded that year by Mrs. Koppelman, is now celebrating it's 50th anniversary.

He claims Mrs. Koppelman would “publicly humiliate some of these people in a very personal way….” This is a whopper of a lie. In the many, many Critical Inquiry classes I have attended, I never once saw Mrs. Koppelman be anything other than a kind critic of a person’s work, and that includes my own. In fact, she has steadily encouraged every student attending this class to use our imagination, to look at objects—be they jars, doorways or people—freshly.  

Mrs. Koppelman, along with being a fine artist, is a damned good art critic. In fact, the purpose of this class is for artists to hear criticism of the work being displayed so that we can become better artists. I can attest to the fact that I am becoming a better photographer because of what I heard in this class, both from Mrs. Koppelman and my fellow students. Criticism, by the way, can include both praise and the pointing out where something needs to be better. Mrs. Koppelman looks carefully at each work. There is no schmooz and no buttering. She provides what every artist for ages has yearned for: an honest looking at one’s art.

As to the lie that there are no dissenting opinions in the Critical Inquiry class: there certainly are dissenting opinions! For example, I remember bringing in a photograph that I took of a person in the doorway of a church. The way his leg was bent upward reflected the lovely arch of the church door. In the scene happened to be this man’s bright red Coca-Cola cup. Mrs. Koppelman wasn’t sure the cup made the photograph better or weakened it. Other students in the class said they thought the cup drew you into the photograph and that it belonged there. There was a debate that wasn’t wholly resolved, but there was a desire on the part of everyone to see what would make the work better.

The reason this anonymous liar writes what he does is that he couldn’t stand to respect someone who knows more about art than he does—and that someone happens to be a woman. I look forward to many more years of studying with Mrs. Koppelman and learning from her and my fellow classmates.

  • Read statements by many individual men and women
  • Read reviews from the NY Times, Smithsonian, Saturday Review, Library Journal, Harlem Times, Popular Photography, and more
  • A letter by Ralph Hattersley, noted critic of photography ...not only counters the lies, but is a means of showing something of their history and motivation.
  • Read poetry by Eli Siegel so greatly respected by William Carlos Williams and many others
  • Read lectures by Eli Siegel on subjects as diverse as literature, love, & economics
  • About classes for Aesthetic Realism consultants and associates taught by Ellen Reiss 
  • Poetic criticism by Eli Siegel and Ellen Reiss
  • Scribner's Magazine book reviews written by Eli Siegel

  • A Little Anthology of Comments (Some Funny We Hope) on Further Misrepresentations.

    >> Continue

    "On the Pleasures and Advantages of Anonymity: An Ode"—
    >> Continue

    A Dramatic and Cautionary Tale about an Unknown and Very Unimportant Person

    There once was a young man of ancient Greece named Milos. And Milos knew Socrates. He did not like Socrates because the great man asked far too many questions.... >> Continue

    Statements by Friends of Aesthetic Realism

    Barbara Allen
    Frances Amello
    Jerry Amello
    Christopher Balchin
    Mara Bennici
    David Berger
    Alice Bernstein
    Rachel J. Bernstein
    Barbara Buehler
    Gina Buffone
    Beverly Sue Burk
    Maureen Butler
    Jeffrey Carduner
    Margot Carpenter
    Lori & Robert Colavito
    Albert Corvino
    Nicholas Corvino
    Henry D'Amico
    Matthew D’Amico
    Ernest DeFilippis
    Vincent DiPietro
    Carol Driscoll
    Donita Ellison
    Anne Fielding
    Lorraine Galkowski, RN
    Pamela Goren
    Edward Green
    Avi Gvili
    Ames Huntting
    Mark Lale
    Dale Laurin
    Rose Levy
    Timothy Lynch
    Lorraine Mahoney, RN
    Derek Mali
    Glenn Mariano
    Haroldo Mauro Jr.
    Joseph Meglino
    Pauline Meglino
    Allan Michael
    Marvin Mondlin
    Robert Murphy
    Michael J. Nadeau
    Meryl Nietsch-Cooperman
    Ruth Oron
    Arnold Perey, PhD
    Lauren Phillips
    Jack Plumstead
    Maria Plumstead
    Rosemary Plumstead
    Rev. Wayne Plumstead
    Marcia Rackow
    Zvia Ratz
    Ann Richards
    Anthony C. Romeo
    Leila Rosen
    Rhonda Rosenthal
    Sally Ross
    Claudia Senatore
    Sheldon Silverman
    Jeffrey Sosinsky, MD
    Barbara Spetly McClung
    Joseph Spetly
    Faith K. Stern
    John Stern
    Arlene Sulkis
    Devorah Tarrow
    Jaime R. Torres, DPM
    Dennis L. Tucker
    Francine Weber
    Steve Weiner
    Miriam Weiss
    Carrie Wilson

    Also see the Aesthetic Realism Online Library  the Aesthetic Realism Foundation  Terrain Gallery  What scholars, writers, artists & teachers are saying  the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company  & Links

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