Wim Meulenkamp Tag

N.p.: n.p., 1988
23.5 x 21cm, 18pp (recto only). A xerox copy of the Meulenkamp article as a contribution to the Maatstaf magazine. The article is packed with mistakes and lies - it claims that Little Sparta is full of works with Nazi symbolism (there are indeed some but the inference here is that Finlay is a Nazi which is stupid. He also notes he is writing the article in a spirit of "revenge" - Finlay had complained about a book written by Meulenkamp which claimed Little Sparta was a "folly" which again it clearly is not. The polemic claims Finlay's wife came up with many of his ideas and also calls Finlay's work "shallow" which is just about the last thing most critics would claim of these multilayered works. Amazingly Meulenkamp actually publishes names and addresses of people who wrote to him criticising him. It is a nasty bit of work by someone who clearly has the intelligence to know better but has given in to his baser nature.
One can only imagine Finlay's reaction when this article was sent to him.

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Little Sparta: Finlay, 1988
Five original vintage xeroxes each 30 x 21cm, 1pp with press cuttings (all 1988) from The Times Literary Supplement, The Scotsman (2), and two unidentified Dutch newspapers reproducing letters to the Editor and articles about Finlay as well as one by Wim Meulenkamp (one of Finlay's accusers) in which he responds to positive support for Finlay from the Kroller-Muller museum and outrageously calls Finlay once again a "crypto-fascist".
One article in the Scotsman Arts Review of May 23 1998 is by Duncan Macmillan (who for once gets it right) describes the original commission in details - clearly fed background on the various meanings of the proposed work by Finlay - in some detail. It makes one regret the work never having been made.
Copied at the time by Finlay to distribute to friends and press as a source of information. VG although some rippling of the paper.

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Little Sparta: Finlay, n.d. (April 1988) An original vintage xerox 30 x 21cm, 1pp with a Press Release from Finlay announcing the appointment of two Parisian lawyers - Maitre Zylberstein and Maitre Nordman. it notes that the former represented Daniel Buren when he was in conflict with the French Government and the latter a prominent member of the French Communist Party and represented the victims of the Nazi Claus Barbie in the (then) recent trial in France.
The statement announces that "actions for damages are being taken against Jonathan Hirschfeld and a number of French publications as well as against the French government. A "Droit de Reponse" is also being sought."
The statement also announces that "on the night of April 26 the French Section of the Saint-Just Vigilantes carried out a series of poster raids on enemy territory. Among the target-buildings were the French Ministry of Culture, the offices of Art Press and Galeries magazine, the Hirschfeld residence, and the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme. The posters carried a text from Dante: "Lasciate Ogni Speranza Voi CH'Enratre!".
Those words are the famous warning over the gates to Hades - Abandon hope, all who enter here!
Finally the statement notes "the smear campaign being carried out by Waldemar Januszczak of the Guardian, Gwyn Headley the publicist, Wim Meulenkamp, Warren Davis of the National Trust and others in England and Holland. "Appropriate action is being prepared."
A copy of the press release distributed by Finlay to friends and supporters as part of the latter's information campaign against his opponents - in it all of Finlay's enemies are name checked.

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Little Sparta: Finlay, 22nd December 1986
An original vintage xerox 30 x 21cm, 1pp with a round robin letter from Finlay to all of the Saint-Just Vigilantes explaining the the Consumer Protection Department has begun an investigation of "Follies: a National Trust Guide" by Headley and Meulenkamp and published by Jonathan Cape. Finlay asks if his supporters can write to the CPD with letters explaining why Little Sparta is not a Folly and why it should not be included in such a guide. Finlay hopes the investigation may lead to the withdrawal of the Follies book. The letter ends with one of Finlay's "detached sentences on the National Trust":
"One cannot preserve the meaning of a building by preserving the building alone."

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London: Jonathan Cape, 1986
21.4 x 14.7cm, 5664pp plus original boards and pictorial dust jacket. First edition of this "guide" to "follies". This was the book that made Finlay so angry because of the short review of Stoneypath (later Little Sparta) and his ire is understandable. The paragraph reads:
Near the village of DUNSYRE about two miles west of the Peebles-Lanark border is Stoneypath, a bogland garden developed from 1967 onwards by the peet Ian Hamilton Finlay. it is a fine and justly famed new garden, but although there isd an Apollo Temple, a broken column or two, and an avalanche of poetic mottoes and inscriptions, the insistent namedropping of pastoral painters and writers and garden theorists tend to get on one's nerves. Everything in Stoneypath is on such a small and fragile scale that one starts hankering for something more manly, like a Wallace monument or a sturdy Gothick eye catcher."
Given Little Sparta has been voted by artists, critics and the general public to be the greatest Scottish artwork of modern times, it is fair to judge Gwyn Headley and Wim Meulenkamp harshly. Their comment " insistent namedropping" is crass and clearly shows that the works they saw were beyond their capabilities. VG+.

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