Painting: An American Largeness

Ever since Jackson Pollock and the first abstract expressionists began enlarging their canvases back in the late 1940s, American paintings have been getting bigger and bigger. To show the lengths—and heights—that artists are going to nowadays, Manhattan's Jewish Museum this week put on display 23 mural-size paintings, with a total area of 2,883 sq. ft. The smallest, James Bishop's Story, is a mere 61 ft. sq. The largest, Al Held's Greek Garden, is a breathtaking panorama of cabalistic circles, squares and triangles that measures 12 ft. high—and 56 ft. long.

The museum's...

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