Gods and Monsters

Take the paintings of one popular artist (preferably, but not necessarily, Pablo Picasso). Juxtapose them with the works of another genius. Compare, contrast and voilà: You have a blockbuster exhibition guaranteed to bring in the crowds. The phenomenal success of the three-city "Matisse Picasso" show in 2002-03 helped inspire the thoughtful "Picasso Ingres" exhibit in Paris last year. Now there's the traveling "Turner, Whistler, Monet" exhibit currently at London's Tate Britain. This is the golden age of spot-the-influence shows. Some museumgoers see them as a two- or three-for-one bonus, others as a force-fed art history lecture. But there's no denying that...

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