Rodney Nelson, Fargo , Published April 09 2013
Letter: Some portraits are art, others …The Rough Rider Award portraits of Vern Skaug (“Artistic Differences,” Forum, April 6) are magazine illustrations and not portraiture at all. You would expect to see them accompanying the text of “profiles” in, say, North Dakota Horizons.
However, they hang in the Capitol, where bona fide art also is on display. They are where art is supposed to be.
What greets a visitor entering the north end of Island Park in Fargo is not art. It is the kind of thing sold off a flatbed truck in the summer: a lawn figurine. The doughboy figure to the right is not high art, but art none the less. In the middle of the park is a statue by a world-renowned sculptor. The figurine is an intrusion.
So is Skaug’s commercial work. It is “recognized by legislators and businessmen,” one critic aptly noted – which serves to clue you in to an understanding of the award.