An email to Iowa State Senator Matt McCoy

From: The Quiet Man

Senator McCoy,

I wanted to let you know how appalled I am by your comments printed in the Iowa City Press-Citizen regarding Jackson Pollock's "Mural."

"Iowans are selling vacation homes and other assets so that their kids can go to college, he said. Families' college investments have plummeted in value, he said."

"'If the college believes that owning up to a $200 million painting is more important than keeping tuition low, they'll continue to retain it,' McCoy said."

Where are your priorities? It seems to me you are more concerned about the finances of the very few Iowans able to own vacation homes than the cultural enrichment of the entire state. I'm unfamiliar with your voting record, but your website states you "support property and income tax relief." That is the kind of greedy, individualist political ideology that has gutted educational funding in Iowa for years. It's the reason why my classmates, teachers, and I had to buy boxes of Kleenex for our classrooms because the school didn't have the funding. It's the reason why my mom had her job at the UI cut to half time, then cut altogether. It's the reason why my tuition more than doubled while I attended Iowa (Fall 2001 to Spring 2006). Major cuts in higher education funding have happened during your time in state government — and long before last year's flooding — so obviously keeping tuition low has not been a priority of yours, either.

Where are your morals? UI president Sally Mason is apt in condoning your suggestion by saying that selling it "would violate all of the covenants and the trust our donors place in us when they give us gifts." Your suggestion is not in line with the principles of Iowa or the Midwest. Peggy Guggenheim gave the state an amazing and influential piece of American art and history, and the UI Museum of Art has given all Iowans an opportunity to discover and appreciate it. It is a one of a kind treasure that is handed down from generation to generation, like my grandmother's antique china cabinet, and not sold for quick money. That's something heroin and crack addicts do. How dare you shame our values and image, and try to rob future Iowans of cultural enrichment.

Please feel free to attack frivolous spending and administrative salaries at the state universities, but selling "Mural" is a desperate, knee-jerk decision the state will regret. Placing it up for bids on a poor art market not only short-changes the state culturally, but literally short-changes it financially. You will be selling someone a priceless jewel of art at a bargain price, and no doubt your "property and income tax relief" ideals will erase any benefits within a few years.

Your suggestion of selling "Mural" sickens me. Not only is it a powerful and significant piece of art, it is a world renowned attraction, drawing art enthusiasts (and their money) to Iowa from all corners of the planet. Without it the UI suffers, Iowa City suffers, and Iowa suffers.


[The Quiet Man]

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