Art: The Guggenheim's Choice

After six months of searching, Manhattan's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum picked a director to succeed James Johnson Sweeney, who resigned partly because he thought that Frank Lloyd Wright's spiraling building was more of a monument to Wright than a museum. The choice: Thomas Messer, 40, who since 1956 has headed the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Boston.

The son of a Czech art scholar, Messer has at one time or another been a student of chemistry, a sergeant with the U.S. intelligence, a stockbroker. It was not until 1947 that he started his...

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