The Galleries: The New New Criticism

More than one newcomer to Manhattan's giddy gallery-go-round finds himself both bedazzled and befoozled. Should he wander into Manhattan's Frumkin Gallery this week, he will find a partner in bemusement. Hung by two wires from the ceiling is a large plywood artist's palette, smeared with paint and with a paintbrush affixed to it. On the palette, in black plastic letters, is the question: "What's It All Mean?"

The wry questioner is William Thomas Wiley, 30, a graduate of San Francisco's cheerfully ticky-tacky school of funk art. For the past eight months, Wiley has been surveying the cool, hip New York City...

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