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Letters

Art of Friendship

The article written by Nikki Finke in L.A. Weekly [Deadline Hollywood, “Blame Ovitz: When Art Started Imitating Hollywood,” November 18–24] might appear, on the surface, to be well researched, but in reality it is an amalgamation of hearsay and quotations taken from articles published (in Vanity Fair and New York magazine) over 20 years ago.

I have not spoken with Ms. Finke in more than six years and I have not spoken with her about Mr. Ovitz or about anything attributed to me in this story in more than a decade.

Many of the stories attributed to me are inaccurate and untrue.

The negative statements and comments attributed to me concerning Mr. Ovitz do not accurately reflect my view.

For the record, Michael Ovitz has been a friend and a mentor for over 20 years.

Mary Boone
Los Angeles

Nikki Finke responds:

First, Mary Boone sat down for a long interview with me in her office with my tape recorder on her desk. Because she has an extraordinary memory for detail, I wound up with a 26-page single-space transcript which word for word accurately reflects what I wrote in my article about her business relationship with Michael Ovitz during his early days as a collector. (I omitted a small amount of material which I deemed gossip, innuendo or too personal.) She also provided me with ample documentation in the form of paperwork as well as the names, addresses and phone numbers of people who could give me more information.

Second, Mary and I had a sad and heartfelt chat in 1999 soon after the death of Leo Castelli was announced. At the time, I was thinking of making Leo’s Hollywood connections one of my columns for New York magazine. Not only did she agree to be interviewed by me again, but she clearly recollected her previous interview with me as well as its contents. Actually, I do remember the subject of Michael Ovitz did come up, but not in any depth.

Third, the vast majority of what she told me never appeared in print or broadcast until my article, so there is no way possible I could have printed an “amalgamation of hearsay and quotations,” as she puts it. Contrary to Mary’s claims, I made it abundantly clear in my article where my information came from my interviews versus previously published work by other media outlets. Several times, I disputed what was printed elsewhere.

Finally, I will always be exceedingly grateful to Mary for helping educate me in the ways of the NYC art world and its collectors like Ovitz. She was a wonderful mentor.

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Ms. Finke’s article on Michael Ovitz and his strategy for acquiring art. I have painted for 25 years and followed the gallery scene. Some of L.A.’s citizens have surprising collections, but they are always those like Ovitz. The only taste they have is in their mouth. Unfortunately, it always comes down to money, so such philistines can become important. In the end, though, the truth comes out. I loved “The Birth of Venus” and “Giaconda” nods in the artwork. Well done!

Fritz Ptasynski
Long Beach

Prosecuting Truth

What a chilling story, and what a revelation [“Molested Justice,” November 18–24]. While every devil must have his advocate, I find it dismaying that the judge himself became the single greatest ally to the accused. And I hold Judge Joseph Biderman chiefly responsible for the crimes that David Newman, a documented predator, would later commit against more children. This judge couldn’t have been a better ally to Newman if he had been on the defendant’s payroll!

Ron Hardcastle
Los Angeles

France on Fire

Regarding the piece by Brendan Bernhard [“The French Insurrection,” November 18–24] on the riots in France, this was one of the very rare, sensible articles in your paper about social or political issues. These riots have little to do with poverty or discrimination per se, but rather an attitude that the infidels are always at fault, and that Islam must always be in the driver’s seat of any society. This unfortunately dovetails with most of the left’s attitude that the white/Western/Judeo-Christian world is automatically at fault. It’s long overdue that Western countries wake up to the fact that they are being colonized.

Richard Sol
Los Angeles


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