TO hear artists tell it, art these days is almost anything that strikes the eye. Framed empty space, neon bulbs, rooms with booming loudspeakers, a deliberately ill-tuned radio set—all qualify. But one kind of art that has been around quite a while has been all but ignored—animated film. Though now sophisticated in its techniques and clearly unlimited in its subject range, animation as an art form has been largely confined to exercises in television commercials, kiddie cartoons, and a few arty shorts that are of the kind that are only noticed at film...

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