Art: NEW WORLDS OF THE NEW WORLD

CUSSING in a dozen tongues, workmen sweated last week in steamy Venice to finish modern art's biggest Babel. By week's end Venice's biennial roundup of contemporary painting and sculpture, due to open this week, had installed only a quarter of the nearly 6,000 paintings and sculptures sent in from 34 countries (including Russia for the first time since 1934). Only at the prim brick American Pavilion did contentment reign. Brisk, brusque Katharine Kuh, curator of modern painting at Chicago's Art Institute, had the U.S. contribution all up and dusted. It made a striking show.

Of all the countries exhibiting at Venice's...

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