Art: Tarted Up Till the Eye Cries Uncle

Reviving the vulgarity of Thomas Hart Benton

If ever an American artist had seemed dead and buried a decade ago, along ! with the movement he had led, that man was surely Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975). True, his huge murals writhing with buckskinned, blue-jeaned and gingham-clad Americans were still to be seen in situ in the Missouri State Capitol, Jefferson City, and the Truman Library, Independence, Mo.; his name might still be invoked in Kansas City, where his latter years were spent; and most students of American art history knew that he had been the teacher (and to no small extent, the substitute father) of Jackson Pollock at...

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