Art: Benton v. Adams

Thirty-nine years ago this month, a Missouri boy named Thomas Hart Benton arrived at Chicago's Art Institute to learn cartooning. "Besides cartoonists there were painting addicts," he recalls. "A few of them, with that strange propensity of addicts toward the corruption of others, began to work on me."

This week Tom Benton showed up in Chicago again—with a one-man exhibition which he described as a "plain bid for Chicago's approval." The country boy had not grown much bigger with the years, but he was twice as cocky.

Most of Benton's recent pictures stayed comfortably close to the farm, and included a diversity of...

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