Art: Words & Pictures

Thousands may disagree, but hundreds of art lovers argue that Manhattan, not Paris, is the new queen city of contemporary painting. The "New York School" of abstract expressionist art, sparked by such painters as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, has long been characterized by big, wild, inchoate canvases meant to represent only moods. Now that seems to be changing; leaders and followers alike are beginning to knead chunks of the physical world into their abstractions.

Among the critics who have taken hope from the shift is the New York Times's Howard Devree. Until recently, he recalls, "arguments were...

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