Art: Midwestern Eccentrics

In the middle 1960s, New York critics were apt to brandish the lordly assumption that everything painted west of Manhattan was provincial and therefore insignificant. It had not been dipped in the rolling Jordan of "the mainstream." When the work of California artists refuted this, the position shifted: now there was a New York-Los Angeles axis, but everywhere else I a vacuum. An exhibition is currently on view at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art that attacks this generalization too. "Chicago Imagist Art," a grab bag of work by 28 painters and sculptors, moves...

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