Feedback: White privilege in art museums runs deep

An illustration shows a Black couple gazing inside a museum filled with white figures.
Art museums do not serve people of color well.
(Zeloot / For The Times)

Regarding “2020 Compels Art Museums to Answer: Are We Racist?” by Carolina A. Miranda [Oct. 25]: Sadly, the white privilege that is inherent in art museums runs deep. A few years ago, I required students in my college art class to visit a major local museum.

One student, a young Latinx woman, approached me after class with a question: “Am I allowed to go there?”

I was stunned. After reassuring her that she would be welcome, I realized that question was a very real demonstration that we as a society have failed.


Clearly, the world of art and culture that I value is not equally inviting to all.

Dennis Reed


The community most underserved by art museums in Southern California is Salvadoran Americans. Though they number about 400,000 in the Los Angeles area, and have a complex and sophisticated art culture, local art museums appear to have blacklisted that culture.

I have been trying to give away through a bequest to a local museum six works by Dagoberto Nolasco, the best-known and most highly regarded Salvadoran artist associated with the civil war and its aftermath, four of these works having been the central focus of previous exhibitions.

A few museums politely declined. Most museums allow but do not respond to such inquiries. And then there is the art museum that will not even allow inquiries about making a bequest.

Maybe the title of the article should have been “Are local art museums primarily guided by the self-interest of managers and board members rather than the interests of the public?”

David Mills
View Park

Reviewer should stick to the music

Regarding “Still Selling Beach Boys Fantasy” [Oct. 26]: I don’t like political messages to appear during sports events and I especially don’t want to talk politics as I attend a concert.

Mikael Wood’s reviews, including “Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ Is the Viral Antidote to Trump’s Chaos” and this latest swipe at Mike Love and the Beach Boys for performing at a Trump fundraiser in Newport Beach, are examples. Why would a musical review have to include this information?

I want to know how the music sounded, what music the band played, etc., not who they are supporting in an election. Like all Americans, they can support any candidate they choose.

Mark Heinze
San Diego


I’m sure Mikael Wood must be a wonderful singer, as he had the nerve to say that Mike Love has a “pinched voice.”

As a longtime reader, I am aware that Wood doesn’t exactly favor most of the bands that have been performing for many years, and I have often said aloud, “Why doesn’t the management just let Mikael Wood cover the more modern music he favors?”

Brenda J. Waldron


This review is really about Mikael Wood’s hatred for Trump supporters.

I prefer all performers and actors stay clear of political endorsements. It’s not their field of expertise. However, their preference should not cloud a music review.

The Mike Love vs. Brian Wilson rift is historic and sad.

With so many performing musicians losing their jobs, it’s great that Mike’s band found a way to perform.

Wood’s expertise is questionable if he calls “That’s Why God Made the Radio” a not-so-good record. It is majestic. Mike is guilty of much crud but, at his best, he is a great lyricist of the 20th century.

Paul Zimmelman
Marina del Rey

Review a bright spot in troubled times

Reading The Times these days can be a bit of a downer. Between the political landscape and the daily COVID-19 statistics and casualties, opening the paper can leave a person in a rather grim mood.

However, I do enjoy entertainment news and the Calendar section. Robert Lloyd did not disappoint with his review of “The Undoing” on HBO [“Tried and Truly Tiresome,” Oct. 23].

Despite the fact the show was panned, I’ll probably tune in anyway.

With summations like “just a sprig of parsley on the lobster frittata,” I read a mood-lifting piece that was potentially more entertaining than the program reviewed.

Roger Zumwalt
Woodland Hills

And now for something really scary

Regarding Mark Swed’s warning that “This is no year to trick or treat,” considering the potential deadly consequences due to COVID-19 [“A Dance of Death to Scare the Soul,” Oct. 21], he’s right, of course.

But here’s a pithy observation: Last year, we didn’t blink an eye when a child in a scary mask visited our home to collect Halloween candy. Now when that same kid doesn’t wear a mask and visits us this Oct. 31, he’s likely to scare us to death.

David Tulanian
Las Vegas

Let the music play

Regarding “Racist Songs Face the Music” [Oct. 22]: How dare the Ledbetters censor our treasure chest of American music?

What’s next, removing the N-word from “Tom Sawyer”? Book burning?

Please stop. Harry Smith is an icon, and no one has the right to change what he did.

The history of our country, is just that: our history.

David Dale

On the road through books

I was drawn to Heather John Fogarty’s article [“The State of the Nation,” Oct. 25] and intrigued by her march across the country in books. Being from the northeast, “Beheld” and “The White Mountain” will be added to my reading list.

“Murder, Madness and Mayhem” accompanied me during the early days of the pandemic.

As the election nears, it appears on my nightstand again as I anxiously await a happy ending.

Donna Sloan
Silver Lake

Good grief, Charlie Brown!

Regarding the online article “Why You Won’t See the Charlie Brown TV Specials in the Usual Places This Year” [Oct. 25]: Of all the things to pull in this unbelievably agonizing year, not showing “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on network television for the first time in 54 years is the Charlie Browniest thing of all Charlie Brown things to do.

Like the World War I flying ace behind enemy lines, I barreled out the afternoon this news broke and snagged a copy on Blu-ray from Target, one of two left.

I’ll be waiting in the most sincerest pumpkin patch I can find on Halloween night for network executives to change their minds. For now I’m going to go jump in a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.

Jesse Cash

A connection with Emmett Till

Regarding Mikael Wood’s review “David Byrne’s Up to New Tricks” [Oct. 16]: I just watched the video of David Byrne’s Broadway show “American Utopia” on HBO, directed by Spike Lee. The group sings the song “Hell You Talmbout,” written by Janelle Monáe and performed by Byrne, a much older white man, with her permission. The song is both a protest and a requiem, as it encourages us over and over to “Say the Name” of so many Black people who have died as victims of racism in the U.S. As their names were repeated by the group, their names, birth and death dates flashed on the screen.

One name, Emmett Till, stuck out for me — because his birthday was exactly the same as mine, July 25, 1941. I recalled his name but not the details of his life story, so I looked him up. Aside from entering the world in the same moment, we shared little else.

He was Black and from Chicago. I am from L.A. — and not Black. Today, I am 79 years old and am able to reflect on a life filled with family, friends, a career as a lawyer in Beverly Hills and Paris, a former film studio executive, with many other opportunities offered and taken and means sufficient to allow myself to live the way everyone should be able to.

Emmett Till was nowhere near as fortunate. At age 14, he was lynched by white racists.

He had none of what I have had. Yet his memory lives on as a catalytic moment in the then-emerging civil rights movement.

Robert Kaplan
Santa Monica

Wanted: Lasagne-loving cat

Please bring “Garfield” to the L.A. Times comics! It’s a true classic that would perfectly join the other classics in The Times’ comics such as “Blondie,” “Drabble,” “Family Circus” and “Peanuts.”

“Garfield” can easily have a home here too. Also, it’s a worthy, funny strip!

Luke Aiello