Boston-area arts letters


Where are the seafaring women?

I enjoyed Katharine Whittemore’s latest “Seven Books About . . .” column very much (“Escapes into adventure on the high seas,” SundayArts, July 20). Those “high seas” adventure books are perfect for summer reading.

However, I also noticed the absence of women authors in various pieces in today’s paper. Yes, the topic has something to do with this. But in a half page of newsprint, one could wish for at least one woman being recognized. (I could, of course, have mistaken one of the author names that are less gendered, but I read the piece twice, looking for where I might have failed.)

I’m not just bringing this up on my own behalf. I’m picturing the vibrant young women whom I know, reading this and reaching a conclusion about adventure writing that might also make them less likely to leap into adventures on their own. We can do better for them — and I hope Whittemore will keep this in mind for the next roundup.



Waterford, Vt.

Wrangling over Wyeth

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Thanks to Sebastian Smee for speaking truth to Malcolm Rogers (“Fortunate son,” g, July 18). What a disappointment the Museum of Fine Arts has become. Quilts? Come on! Quilts of Gee’s Bend, sure, but the current quilt show? Excuse me. Poor Jamie Wyeth? Fashion, fashion photography, photos of the royals? Where is another Antonio Lopez Garcia show or Sargent watercolor exhibition, or the like? What happened to our fine institution? Thanks to Smee for his always excellent insight and writing.



Smee and I agree on one thing only: Jamie Wyeth can paint. Other than that we disagree. Wyeth, like his father, is a gifted American artist. The ‘world’s great museums’ would love to have his works on display.


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Songs should be the focus


With her story on “Finding Neverland” at the American Repertory Theater, Patti Hartigan buys into the hype that was shamelessly launched for this musical at the Tony Awards (“Opening in Cambridge and looking far beyond: Anticipation high as ART debuts ‘Neverland,’ page A1, July 23).

One of the most (unintentionally?) revealing aspects of the article is how far down in it one has to read to find the first and only mention of the song team for the show. This is not how a Broadway musical should be conceived. The songs should be the focus, not the production per se.

“Finding Neverland” was a very touching film, with a nice and much-appreciated score by Jan Kaczmarek. Will that music be any part of this hoopla? It appears not.

The fact that the ART is promoting new musical productions is wonderful. But let’s remember the music and put it at the center of attention. One of the reasons so many new Broadway shows have so little to offer is that the score gets lost in the glitz.


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