The scene: the annual dinner of Britain's venerable, 198-year-old Royal Academy.
The speaker: outgoing President Sir Charles Wheeler, 74, a sculptor whose 15-ft.-tall gilded baroque figure, Ariel, stands atop the Bank of England.
The subject: "the meaningless in art."
"Lumps of stone or bronze of any form whatsoever," said he, "will, helped by the skilled persuasion of venders, and often, I am sorry to say, financially involved and therefore perhaps not unbiased writers on art, be received with bated breath and called 'profound imponderables' or some such meaningless phrase. Accidental splashes of color or rags or sacking on canvas, the man will...