Depth Perception
You are to be commended on pointing out that the content of MFA's exhibits are thought by some in the community to be lacking depth ["Deal of the Art," by Megan Halverson, January 9]. It is to be hoped that your very balanced reporting and mild criticism will cause Peter Marzio and the board of MFA to set minimum quality standards for future exhibits. I would personally appreciate at the very least the elimination of misspellings in the exhibit plaques.

Benjamin Wilson
via Internet

Fit for the In-Laws
When I think about times I stood in front of a work of art, and then had an awestruck experience, it's always been at a museum that has collected and curated either a specific artist, or a genre, to an exhaustive degree. The Getty, the Borghese, the Kimbell, the Walters and the Menil are all examples of this kind of institution. They're all worth special trips: both physical and contemplative journeys.

Despite its huge endowment and political "pull," the Houston MFA is just not of their caliber. This is because it hasn't developed a segment of its collection worth a special trip. Instead, the MFA continues to round out the gaps with solid "also-rans" and "nearly as good as" pieces. So what we're left with is a three-dimensional art survey course, like a coffee-table book fit for the in-laws to look through, instead of an awe-inspiring excellence.

Awe-inspiring excellence is what a museum should be about.
Scott Bodenheimer

Personal Liberation
At last! The Houston Press has made it safe for me to come out of the closet ... as a Badfinger fan! Thanks for Hobart Rowland's insightful article on one of rock's most underrated acts and Darrell Clingman's effort to keep their music alive [Music, "The Good with the Badfinger," January 9].

Like Clingman, I first listened to Badfinger because the Beatles are my favorite band. But I soon learned to appreciate their music completely on their own terms -- and outside of the "hit" singles. It's a shame the "baby Beatles" tag has continued to this day.

Though their material had been out of print for years (a buddy of mine paid $40 for a worn copy of Straight Up at a convention some years back, which of course I taped for free), Apple Records has recently remastered and rereleased the catalog, including the wonderful Come and Get It: The Best of Badfinger, which is a great introduction for new fans and a fine compilation for older ones.

I also found the piece on the Velvet Elvis interesting [Static, by Hobart Rowland, January 9], since I just moved back to Houston from Savannah, Georgia, where the best nightclub for live music in town is also named ... yup, "The Velvet Elvis." Long live the King ... and the kitsch!

Bob Ruggiero

Children First
I keep reading about the increase in the number of AIDS cases in African-Americans and that the majority of babies with AIDS are African-American. It is amazing to me that when the county government has a chance to improve the lives of children with AIDS, they would rather get bogged down in bureaucracy and red tape ["Unembraceable You," by Brian Wallstin, December 26].

Let's take care of the children, not protect the jobs of government employees by making up more rules.

Dorothy Bey


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