Art: Dodoes & Elephants

Do U.S. museums keep up with the times? And are the times worth keeping up with? Last week, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, gallery-goers could see for themselves. Answers to both questions were on display: 64 paintings that U.S. museums had bought during the past two years.

Like a mail-order catalogue, the show had a little of everything—from the sharp literalness of an Edward Hopper Civil War scene, to a tangled, crisscross abstraction by Mark Tobey. There were the sanitary surfaces of Georgia O'Keeffe, the fluid mists of John Marin, a...

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