Art: Impersonal Best: On to Utopia

In Minneapolis, a major show of De Stijl

A vintage cartoon by Saul Steinberg shows a baroque room, all gold and curlicues; in it, a maestro is delicately prodding at a canvas filled with a grid of straight lines — a Mondrian, pure and polemical, red-yellow-blue-gray-white-black, utterly incongruous against the florid décor of the 19th century. How could Europe produce the painting within 70 years or so of finishing the room? That in effect is the question posed by "De Stijl, 1917-1931: Visions of Utopia," an exhibition that opened last month at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and will go...

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