Art: In Bronze & Marble

Sculpture can be—and lately has been —made from wire, welding rod, boiler plate, concrete, and wormy wood. Last week a pair of shows in Rome and Manhattan served to prove that bronze and marble also have possibilities.

In Rome's Palazzo Barberini, whimsical, Sicilian-born Emilio Greco, 44, winner of the top Italian sculpture award at the last Venice Biennale, showed 42 sculptures covering 20 years' work. To Sculptor Greco's delight, it was his newest work, three monumental bronze Grand Bathers, that had the critics (including famed Italian Sculptor Giacomo Manzù) singing his praises.

Gallerygoers who approach sculpture with high seriousness were put off at...