Art: On with the Old

Is modern art revolutionary? Not on your tintype, say the moderns. The habit of ignoring nature or rearranging it to suit yourself is as old as art itself.

To dramatize this point, Manhattan's publicity-wise Museum of Modern Art was staging a show last week that paired ancient distortions with modern distortions—and implied that both were good. A paleolithic fetish 77,000 years old and shaped like a bunch of grapes made Gaston Lachaise's blimpish Standing Woman (1932) look a comparatively svelte great-granddaughter. A Canaanite idol dated 1000 B.C. seemed a more attenuated ancestor of...

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