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On the Bright Side

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To the Editor:

Deanna Isaacs has written a conscientious if somewhat uncomprehending account of Christian Narkiewicz-Laine [Culture Club, July 12]. The courts will decide whether the charges against him are true. We should know that he has done much for Chicago despite his personal eccentricities.

Narkiewicz-Laine has a florid imagination, especially when it comes to numbers. His claim of 300,000 visitors to the downtown Chicago museum is pure fantasy. The place was almost always empty because it rarely did publicity. The International Sculpture Park in Schaumburg cost nowhere near $30 million. Most of the works in it are gifts.

Narkiewicz-Laine is down now. Instead of kicking him, we should thank him for producing a remarkable series of exhibitions on subjects as varied as what the Parthenon looked like when it was painted, design from Denmark, city planning in Hong Kong, and the history of industrial design in Chicago. He has shown architecture by numerous new and established practitioners, work by American and European artists, and much more.

In Schaumburg, Narkiewicz-Laine created a sculpture park with work from all over the world--that's why it's international. All the sculptures are attractive and extremely well sited. This sculpture park is one of the few reasons why anyone would ever want to set foot in Schaumburg.

Narkiewicz-Laine is an odd character and very often annoying. But no one else has given us such a museum. No one else even imagined it.

Victor M. Cassidy

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