Exhibitions: Rosetta Stone at Kassel

Over the revelry at the Venice Biennale fortnight ago hung the disconcerting possibility that even as this famed old exhibition displayed its own mediocrity and disorganization, a lesser-known art festival 400-odd miles to the north was preparing to put on a top-grade show. The newer exhibition is at Kassel, where the Brothers Grimm lived, located at the geographic heart of Germany, and it is called Dokumenta III.

Two previous Dokumentas, in 1955 and 1959, had shown what Teutonic seriousness could do to fuse, focus and interpret significant modern art trends. The new...

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