Art: Big Shocker

The build-up was impressive: Rico Lebrun, who at 51 is among the nation's most respected artists, devoted five years to planning and painting a giant triptych entitled Crucifixion; it was well received by his Los Angeles neighbors, and last week Manhattan's choosy Museum of Modern Art had the picture on show. The work itself turned out to be something of a shocker.

An elephantine 16 by 26 ft., it is actually not a Crucifixion, but a Descent from the Cross. Brilliant draftsman that he is, Lebrun has defined every shape dramatically, but they are...

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