To the Arts Editor:

I rise to protest the praise lavished unstintingly on the new building for the Art Museum of Western Virginia designed by a former associate of Frank Gehry. The Cityscape article "With Bilbao in Mind, Roanoke Goes for the Bold" [Arts, Sept. 25] reeks with words like: spectacular, iconic, beautiful, incredible, world-class, visually compelling, lyrical and tough.

Rarely has Hungerford's statement that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" impacted me so profoundly.

If there's a scintilla of beauty in the Roanoke rip-off of the bizarre variations-on-a-theme creations of Frank Gehry, I've missed it. I'm reminded of Mark Twain's remark that "Wagner's music is much better than it sounds."



Letters should be sent to: Arts Editor, Style Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. E-mail should be sent to Please include a daytime and nighttime phone number and an address. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

A rendering of the design for the new Art Museum of Western Virginia in Roanoke, by architect Randall Stout, a former associate of Frank Gehry.