Art: THE UNREAL WORLD

Once abstract art was thought too odd and ugly to last out a season; now people speculate about what it will have meant "when it dies." Yet abstract art does not die easily. Top U.S. artists, who used to paint recognizable subjects, put their real mark upon the world when they began to paint the unseen, the unreal and the untidy. And they have been around long enough for critics now to cast about for ancestors to confirm abstractionism in a tradition of its own. Last week an exhibition in West Germany revealed a new "father" of abstractionism; he turned out...

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