spelling is overrated, especially at libraries

Livermore Library Embarrassed By Mural

After a $40,000 ceramic mural was unveiled outside Livermore's new library, everyone could see the misspelled names of Einstein, Shakespeare, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo and seven other historical figures.

Reached at her Miami studio Wednesday by The Associated Press, Maria Alquilar said she was willing to fix the brightly colored 16-foot-wide circular work [for another $6,000 plus expenses], but offered no apologizes for the 11 misspellings among the 175 names.

"The importance of this work is that it is supposed to unite people," Alquilar said. "They are denigrating my work and the purpose of this work."

There were plenty of people around during the installation who could and should have seen the missing and misplaced letters, she said.

The mistakes wouldn't even register with a true artisan, Alquilar said. "The people that are into humanities, and are into Blake's concept of enlightenment, they are not looking at the words," she said. "In their mind the words register correctly."

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46 Responses:

  1. abiku says:

    but offered no apologizes ...

    It would seem as though The Associated Press could use a better editor, as well.

  2. Oversensitive to criticism. Can't spell. Expects others to do the unglamorous work like proofreading.

    She'd make a great web designer.

  3. starjewel says:

    KFOG played clips from an interview with her morning and she said something about how she didn't know where she got the spellings from. Of course you don't know, because you didn't bother to check them. IMHO thats disrespectful to the library and community to think it's ok to display something like this.

  4. granting says:

    Goddamn hippies.

  5. batmite2000 says:

    There's nothing worse than an artist who has not learned how to communicate effectively and precisely.

    For $40,000, the artist should have at least proofread the work. At an even higher level, the person signing the check should have had the common sense to proofread the work.

    • ivan_ghandhi says:

      I agree. It is not the stupid "artist" to blame; my opinion is she is no artist at all, just a plain idiot used by other idiots for entertainment. But those responsible for commissioning this "piece of art", they took the decision to accept it or not. Say, if she draw a penis, a Virgin Mary covered with shit, they would not accept it, right? Why then? Why are they going to pay $6000 more, instead of demanding their $40k back? Because a) it is not their money, and b) she is "Hispanic"... imnsho. These people are asking for humiliation. The whole world will laugh, not only at them, but at the Livermore Lab as well. Bad, bad.

  6. ammonoid says:

    Oh I see. Mispellings don't matter, because we're talking about ART. What a retard. I would have been forgiving if she had just switched the I and the E. But the N?

    And her "art" is shitty, but thats just my unartistic, unenlightened opinion.

    • greatbiggary says:

      I can't disagree that she's working at about an "eighth grader who's really good at art" level, but some of her work holds up better when taken as a whole, and not as just a clipping. The library mural, however, is just pretty bad all over. Courage and Loss just disappear into the background, throwing off even the composition of the lights and darks.

      As for the spelling, I've known a lot of bad spellers who remain so because they really don't see it as at all important, as long as you get the idea. They're not locked into the sense that every letter is important, and see it more as brushstrokes on a canvas, each contributing inexactly to an overall sense of the meaning. As long as the general idea remains, they're fine with it, and English be damned.

      I'll give her an extra point for the lion-on-girl action, though.

      • ammonoid says:

        I was with you up until here:

        They're not locked into the sense that every letter is important, and see it more as brushstrokes on a canvas, each contributing inexactly to an overall sense of the meaning. As long as the general idea remains, they're fine with it, and English be damned.

        Its someone's name. Brushstrokes...overall sense of meaning...general ideas...please.

        The point is not necessarily that her art has no merit, but that she got paid 40K to do something that looks hideous and has the particulars misspelled.

  7. g_na says:

    [lifted from chat:]

    <roeber> http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.asp?S=2395577
    <roeber> "The people that are into humanities, and are into Blake's concept of enlightenment, they are not looking at the words," she said. "In their mind the words register correctly."
    <g-na> but not all artists are dumb
    <g-na> the funny thing about that is yesterday in my speech class, the teacher misspelled "Eistein" on the board
    <g-na> i'm such a nazi about spelling that when that teacher admitted she was not a good speller, i lost respect for her.
    <g-na> how can you be 1) a college graduate, 2) have completed a master's program, 3) be a college professor AND NOT BE ABLE TO SPELL?
    <g-na> </rant>

    • You neglected to start your rant with an opening

      tag...

      When anyone claims to be a "nazi" about so-and-so, doesn't that basically nullify any of the listed grievances that follow?

      Or maybe I'm just being a nazi nazi.

    • zonereyrie says:

      Well, I have two degrees and one of them is Technical Writing (the other is History - I started out as an Aerospace major and switched in my 4th year, and I also did a large portion of the CS program - I couldn't make up my mind) - and I'm not very good at spelling. It has always been a weakness of mine.

      But that's why whenever I do something important I:
      - Spell check it.
      - Proof read it.
      - Try to get someone else to proof read it as well.

      Still, I tend to think that even with my spelling errors I'm, unfortunately, better than most of the writing I see online these days. Even discounting simple typos, and people deliberately misspelling things to be 'k3wl'.

      I tend to be lax in casual email, my LJ, etc. I don't apply the same rigor here that I do writing documentation for work, coding, or writing any kind of formal correspondence.

      • g_na says:

        Spelling may be a weakness, but it sounds like at least you take steps to correct errors, especially when it's something important. My main beef is that so many people don't try to do anything about it. What's worse is they acknowledge there is a problem and not doing anything in a case like that is tantamount to ignorance.

  8. fantasygoat says:

    The mistakes wouldn't even register with a true artisan, Alquilar said.

    Wow. Not only isn't she paying to fix the errors, she claims this shit is art and then not even apologize?

    That's balls. I've only ever seen this kind of denial in politics and religion.

    • skreidle says:

      Yeah. Sorry, but i like my art without glaringly obvious flaws.

      • fantasygoat says:

        If she had claimed she did it on purpose, well, that's different.

        But it seems like she's just backpedalling because she's an idiot.

        But then, she got $40,000 for that piece of shit...

        • zonereyrie says:

          Yeah - I'm not sure how much of an idiot she is if she got someone to pay $40k for something that bad.

          My read is that she's an 'artiste' - completely full of herself. "My work is great, you have no right to criticise it!" That bullshit babble is just offensive.

          You fucked up, dipshit, own up and fix it.

          I hope this hurts her reputation and reduces her contracts.

          • fantasygoat says:

            The fact that she's creating bland, inoffensive artwork for public buildings in no way diminishes her status as an artiste of coure.

    • greatbiggary says:

      HAHA! You're right. I don't see how pompous installation artist + empowered woman + opinionated Latina could possibly = dismissive denial.

      Oh no I di'int!

  9. treptoplax says:

    Perhaps she has a side business selling v1ag3ra over the internet.

    • tfofurn says:

      Why stop there? Why not viarga? Or vagra?

      There's a manual on my desk at work for a Vigra Pix video capture doohickey. It never fails to get a double-take the first time somebody sees it.

  10. neevita says:

    What a dumb bitch.

  11. idcmp says:
    > Maria Alquilar 

    I'm sure she's just as forgiving when people call her "Mary", and spell her last name with a "K".

  12. baconmonkey says:

    I thot the liberry was supozed too mak pepul smrt?

    To defend horrific spelling on a mural that's installed on an institution of literacy, requires a degree of crass bushittery that leaves her qualified for a high level position in the CheyneyBush administration.

  13. Not only is that the height of arrogance, it also shows a complete lack of respect. Her work deserves to be denigrated: she can't even do her research properly.

    Further, she's taking absolutely no responsibility for her actions. I'm sorry, but if I stuff up an engineering desing, I'm legally liable for any mistakes that I made. I have a responsibility to my employer to complete the task properly. And she wants to be paid more because she's incompetent?

  14. akage says:

    I wonder if she can spell D-E-P-O-R-T-E-D?

    Looking at her website (http://www.maria-alquilar.com/), she's got issues and frankly the rest of her "art" looks like crap. It's not that I don't have an appreciation for "primitive" artists, it's just that I recognize the difference between an unschooled artist and an inept one.

  15. googoobaby says:

    http://www.ninds.nih.gov/health_and_medical/disorders/dysgraphia.htm

    I'm suprized no one has posted about this being a posibility.

  16. kaolinfire says:

    Muralists like that should be dragged out and shot.

    I read about this in reuters oddly. But damn.

  17. ldystardust says:

    http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.asp?S=2406766

    Now that's even more screwed-up. Trying to disguise ignorance behind art just makes artists look bad.