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Letters to the Arts Editor

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a scene from Season 6 of “Mad Men.”

Michael Yarish/AMC via AP

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a scene from Season 6 of “Mad Men.”

‘Beauty’ of a review

Thea Singer’s compelling review of Boston Ballet’s “The Sleeping Beauty” precipitated my interest in attending a performance (“Ballet’s ‘Beauty’ awakens the senses,” g, March 25). I was not disappointed. It was an enchanting evening of beautiful music and dazzling dancers. It is a memory to treasure.

MARY McGAGH

Weston

Insights and inspiration

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Yesterday I joined the nation in mourning Roger Ebert’s passing (I’m such a huge fan that my children got a signed copy of his autobiography for my Christmas gift two years ago: “To Kathbert, Roger Ebert, 11/11/11”). He was an excellent reviewer and a person who inspired me with his passion, integrity, and creativity.

After reading Matthew Gilbert’s essay on “Mad Men” this morning, I realized he is the only other reviewer I admire as much as I did Mr. Ebert (“ ‘Mad’ lib,” g, April 5). I enjoy his thoughtful and insightful writing greatly. One of my favorite sentences was “Weiner writes like an accomplished stage dramatist, with faceted dialogue that is simultaneously simple, profound, allusive, and revelatory of character.” Gilbert captured the essence of what he does in the show in one beautiful sentence! I am grateful to Gilbert for enhancing my experience, and thereby making my life a little better.

KATHERINE JOHNSON

Shrewsbury

Break up the boys’ club

Re: Phillip M. Davis’s letter about film critic Ty Burr’s 3.5 stars or an A- for “Spring Breakers” (Letters, Arts&Movies, March 31): I totally agree with Mr. Davis’s concerns about Mr. Burr’s over-generous film rating and the Globe possibly losing readers, like me. I see it more as a blatant sexism problem. Burr found the film with four bikini-clad teenage girls with some nudity, drug use, and strong violence throughout “mesmerizing” in his own words and gave it an A-, while three women film critics gave it C+ (Karen Durbin, Elle), C- (Claudia Puig, USA Today), and C- (Alynda Wheat, People). And even the New York Post, a tabloid ready to exploit women at every turn, only gave the film 1.5 stars. Its chief film critic, Lou Lumenick, called the film “Girls gone reviled.”

The Globe leans very heavily toward male film critics, giving its film reviews an unfair male bias. It also has a male TV critic and male fine arts critic. As most of the films, TV programs, and fine art exhibits that the Globe reviews are made by men, curated by men, filmed by men, produced by men, sold by men, and most often use women (many of them naked or scantily clad) as their subjects or objects (“Degas and the Nude”; “Mario Testino: In Your Face”; Cezanne, Gauguin, and Arcadian visions at the MFA), in the future, it would be better served for all your readers to give female reviewers a chance. This old boys’ club is getting old. It’s time for women film, TV, and fine art critics.

The Guerrilla Girls ask, “Does a woman have to be naked to get into the MFA?” The same question may be asked of the Globe.

LISE BEANE

Boston

A critic’s mischief

Re: Critic’s corner (g, April 1, Matthew Gilbert): Ha ha, very funny. You made me late for work this morning because I had to run around looking for G4 so I could record the “Lost” finale re-do (which I would dearly love to see) before I realized it was probably a big, sad April Fool’s joke. You just don’t fool with important things like that.

CARLA FINK

New Bedford

Evil genius: That’s all I can say to Gilbert’s column today. I so wanted to believe that I actually went to G4 to look at the listings. Then I remembered what today was. (I do think his “Revolution” plot line is much better than whatever they’ve got planned for tonight.)

Gilbert is always a great read, and one of the main reasons I get the Globe.

Thanks for a great prank.

MARCY ROSS

Beverly

More objectivity, please

Re: “Dream on, viewer” (g, March 29): It was not as irritating as Sebastian Smee’s usual trendy, art-historianese, cocktail-chatter verbal expostulations, but I believe in the future. Like water, I trust he will once again find his own level.

1. If Cezanne submitted “The Large Bathers” as an end-of-semester, fine arts major, abstract-representational final exam, what grade do you suppose he would have gotten? This question, and this generic question regarding many accepted “works of art,” is never asked by art critics. It would make for interesting speculation. Nobody finds the form interesting. It remains the elephant at the party that every art enthusiast pretends is not there.

2. No human can with speech or text translate the power and the mystery and the hypnotic attraction of Gauguin’s “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?,” the MFA’s greatest possession. Equal in every way, or, in my opinion, greater than Picasso’s “Guernica,” but never are the two paintings mentioned in the same sentence.

3. “Gauguin (1848-1903) spread disease and hypocrisy among pubescent girls.” Cue the politically correct and the feminist chorus. A little too glib. Grab the reins. Perhaps Smee should confine his art-critic energies to Spanish religious art. Plenty of cherubs and nobody is sweating.

4. I do not believe the MFA should loan the Gauguin painting. It shows a lack of appreciation for what they have. They should sell off their ’60s color-field junk and build a room just for the Gauguin. A trip to the Getty Museum in California could give them pointers on display and cleaning and lighting.

5. “No one studied nature more closely than Cezanne.” Silly.

6. “Cezanne’s huge and airy picture seems to quiver with psychological anxieties.” No, it does not.

I enjoyed reading “Dream on, viewer” and I am pleased to see The Boston Globe supporting the arts. All we need to do is be more objective, less interested in trivial social approval, and less schoolgirl-impressed by everything.

DANA HAYDEN

Boston

Daniele Gatti is no Levine

Re: “BSO explores sprawling visions of Mahler’s Third” (Metro, March 29, Jeremy Eichler): I heard James Levine conduct the BSO performing Mahler’s Third in 2007, so was disappointed today. The orchestral playing was magnificent, but not enough to overcome so-so conducting (even overlooking his regrettable mistake not to seat the chorus).

JOHN HODGE

Jamaica Plain

A vote for ‘The Defenders’

Re: “TV’s best lawyer show? It’s ‘The Good Wife.’ ” (g, March 25, Matthew Gilbert): My wife and I are big fans of “The Good Wife,” but I would also like to propose “The Defenders” (1961-65). In one episode, the religious belief of parents whose child is gravely ill will not allow medical procedures that might save the child’s life. The child dies. Who is responsible? A pretty complex issue for the early ’60s on TV.

LEE PERRY

Brookline

Letters for publication should include the writer’s name, address, and daytime phone number for verification. All letters are subject to editing. Send to arts@globe.com.

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