What is truly unseemly

April 14, 2019

With respect to Craig Campbell’s diatribe (“Naming rights — an unseemly way to proceed,” My View, April 7), about the name of the future Vladem Contemporary museum, let’s consider what is truly unseemly. I was asked to sit in on initial discussions about the need for expansion of the downtown New Mexico Museum of Art facility.

The need is dire; the museum is literally bursting at its seams. The new location on Guadalupe Street, in the midst of walking traffic and a soon-to-open arts high school campus, is ideal. But money for arts museums is not easy to find. In fact, it’s almost impossible to secure acquisition monies.

The Vladems are a godsend. Their generosity toward the community they have newly entered is awesome and should be welcomed by anyone with an ounce of good sense. Without the donation of $4 million (“Museum a step closer to reality,” Dec. 18), it may well have taken many years for the project to come to fruition.

Insofar as the naming, this is not in the least unusual for all sizes of donations. The backs of many seats in the Lensic Performing Arts Center bear plaques. The tradition is time-honored. Wikipedia has a list of hundreds of cities in the U.S. named after people who were kings and queens and wealthy people, and there are literally tens of thousands of buildings all over the country — and the world — who derived their names in a likewise fashion. To be shocked about honoring this most gracious donation with a name is disingenuous.

What is truly unseemly, even terrible, about Campbell’s letter is its third paragraph, wherein he waxes hysterically about the abuses of Enron and the Sackler family. This paragraph dares to conflate these matters with the Vladems. This is egregious nonsense. I’m certain that they are wise enough to rise above what is clearly silly blather, but I am not. On behalf of the rest of us in Santa Fe, I’d like to thank the Vladems very sincerely for their generosity.

Michelle Gaugy is an art consultant and former owner of the Gaugy Gallery. She lives in Santa Fe.