Art: Signs of Spring

For 13 years, Manhattan's Whitney Museum has greeted spring with a big show of contemporary U.S. sculpture, watercolors and drawings. Last week's exhibition was one of the best in the show's history. As usual, it contained a weedy jungle of mediocre and ostentatious works, and nothing that could be called "great." But down among the weeds were many fresh, playful sprouts.

None of the younger men's watercolors could match those exhibited by oldtimers Charles Burchfield and John Marin, but there were a few that came close. Dong Kingman's rich, elaborate House Boat, an artful...