Art: Behind the Glass

Along San Francisco's Grant Avenue, Manhattan's Fifth, Minneapolis' Nicollet Avenue, Dallas' Main Street, last-minute Christmas shoppers jostled and shoved. But sometimes they forgot to push, and pressed like moths to the lighted store windows, lost in synthetic wonderlands behind the glass.

The art of window display appears to hit a new peak each Christmas. Nowadays the best windows are as craftily arranged and lighted, and almost as convincing, as scenes from a play. "It could be great art," one of the best of its practitioners insisted last week. "It ain't, but it could be. I look forward to the day when we'll...

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