Art: Man Is Ultimate Value

In the catalogue for his new exhibition at Manhattan's Downtown Gallery, burly, amiable Ben Shahn, 60, himself dean of protest painters, sharply challenged the current cult of abstract expressionism. Said he:

"It is claimed that nonobjective art is the perfect expression of what now seems to be an atomic age, or is in any case a scientificomechanical age, and perhaps that is true. For the nonobjective painting claims validity only for its mechanics, for the material with which it is made and the manner of their organization. It rejects man, his life, his visions, his philosophies, his future.

"But I think that artists...

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