Say what you want about the formal deficiencies of Will Staples’s drawing Slim Mixture [Our Town, April 3]; it makes a definite statement about contemporary art standards. Like the artist’s crude and forthright bid for attention, the cartoon figures that are clearly delineated and easily categorized draw low grades. But the blurred figure receives a little more approval, and the smudge off to the right squeaks by with a B-plus.

Is this just the plaintive squeal of another artist watching the stuff of his dreams get graded for conceptual validity and marketability like potatoes or eggs? Or is this funky doodle teasing the dealers and curators who hedge their opinions as tediously as stockbrokers poring over balance sheets? Could Staples be making a sly comment about an…um…

postmodern art establishment that only begrudges respect and attention to what it can’t recognize or remember seeing before?

They say art imitates life. I’d say that in this case it mimics criticism.

Erich O. Mees