Art: Second-Generation Abstraction

Although it makes them writhe, they are called "hard edge" painters. Among artists of the New York school, the term separates them from the earlier, fast-draw action abstractionists, who painted with splatter, splash or broad-brush lunge. These second-generation abstractionists strive for a well-wrought finish, rather than a random record of trial and error.

Manhattan's revamped Jewish Museum this week opens an instructive show called "Toward a New Abstraction," with 47 works by nine of these artists. At first glance, the hard-edge painters seem direct heirs of the cubists and the Bauhaus, of Josef Albers and Mondrian. Their images are bare, blocky and...

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