As the summer season closed, museums and communities began dismantling the huge group shows, designed to satisfy tourists and help artists, that have become customary across the land. In size, the shows had often been barbaric. Visitors strolled through the exhibitions as if in a forest, ignoring the fact that any painting or sculpture worth seeing at all requires long contemplation.

The summer shows pointed up the fact that abstraction reigns supreme in the hearts of the nation's young artists. To make a great abstraction is difficult-perhaps even impossible. But passably assured and decorative examples are fairly easy to produce, and juries-under...

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