In the name of art ...
I was disappointed in reading art critic Christopher Knight’s article about the Koreatown mural [“Erasing Mural Is Just Wrong,” Dec. 15.] and his difficulty in supporting the decision of the Los Angeles Unified School District to take it down. Anyone looking at the mural can easily see the rising sun, the symbol of the nation that oppressed Korean civilians in the mid-20th century.
Would Knight defend an artist who drew a swastika-like mural near a school inhabited mostly by Jews? It seems that he is more concerned with the feelings of muralist Beau Stanton than those of the thousands of students forced to see this work as they attend school every day.
Not everything should get a free pass in the name of art.
Barry S. Rubin
I completely agree with the condemnation of the destruction of Stanton’s mural at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Koreatown.
Every artist should protest this insidious censorship and the denigration of an artist’s reputation. There was time when artists’ rights groups such as the Artists’ Equity Assn., Artists for Economic Action and CETA Title VI recipients would have vociferously defended Stanton and demanded that LAUSD rescind this irresponsible order.
Unfortunately, those groups no longer exist. I urge every artist to use his or her voice to contact LAUSD and urge the retraction of this ugly censorship. Next time, it could be your public art that a few dissidents want destroyed.
It is a shame to have the entire mural obliterated. But in consideration of the objections of the Korean community, which sees similarities between the sun rays in the mural and the Japanese imperial battle flag, I wonder if a compromise could be met? Perhaps the background could be painted over with the solid blue color or the red-orange color depicted in the sun rays, thus preserving the rest of the work.
Editor’s note: After publication of Knight's story and other coverage about the mural, artist Shepard Fairey said he would insist that his own Robert F. Kennedy mural be removed from the campus of the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools if the school district painted over the mural of Ava Gardner. On Monday, LAUSD said it would postpone plans to paint over the mural and give the issue more consideration after the new year.
Lessons in Mac’s early history
Pop music critic Mikael Wood’s dismissal of Fleetwood Mac’s unremarkable early days [“Fleetwood Mac Goes Its Own Way,” Dec. 13] was a shockingly ignorant statement from a reviewer in a major publication. The focal point of the original Mac lineup was Peter Green, a hugely influential guitarist who was also a distinctive vocalist and a thoughtful songwriter, aided by the significant contributions of Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer. Green was the standard against which all who subsequently occupied his chair in Fleetwood Mac were measured, not least in the eyes of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, according to their musings in various interviews. The later hit-making machine that most people know of as Fleetwood Mac was lightning in a bottle in its own way, but for some, the original Mac was the magical, unbeatable combination.
I must take issue with Wood’s comment regarding vestiges of Fleetwood Mac’s unremarkable early days.
I don’t know how old you are, Mikael, but I assure you that there are millions of fans worldwide who remember, as I do, the remarkable accomplishments of Green, Spencer, Kirwin and the late and lamented Bob Welch.
Is Beethoven rocking it too?
Regarding “Class Is a British Invasion” [Dec. 13, by Randy Lewis]: Good article, but it would have helped if you had explained what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame defines as rock ’n’ roll. The hall even includes Joan Baez. One could say she influenced music that became rock ’n’ roll, but then you could even put Mozart and Beethoven in it as well.
Disney got this before the rest
It’s sad that it took this long for someone to look at the data on female leads in movies and find the assumption of lower profits to be wrong [“Study: Female Leads a Big Hit,” Dec. 13].
Not every studio believed the myth. I noticed decades ago that Disney was producing animated action movies with female leads. Most were very successful. Story lines that would never have attracted girls if the lead had been male were and are popular with both boys and girls. I considered it a win-win, as both were seeing females as strong and resourceful.
‘Roma’ — that’s two thumbs up
Regarding “Inside L.A. Critics’ Picks” [Dec. 11]: It’s wrong to compare apples and oranges. Also, there may be many films that are just as good as “Roma.” However, none are better.
Now, the (not so) funny papers
I can’t believe all the great comic strips to which you’ve stopped subscribing (“Brewster Rockit,” “Real Life Adventures” and “Herman,” just to name a few), but you keep the horrid, sometimes soft-core porn “9 Chickweed Lane.” If it ever was actually funny, it is now a blight.