Art: The View From Piccadilly

In London, a survey of modern American art is spotty and distorted

Three weeks ago, an exhibition of the work of the English artists Gilbert and George opened at the National Art Gallery in Beijing. Its catalog bore a fulsome essay comparing the two "living sculptures" to Confucius himself and lamenting the utter decadence of so much Western art, which "seems to have lost any moral significance on account of its fruitless search for formal purity. Meaning and ornament . . . have been marginalized . . . The black square painting is a goal that can appeal only to very few aesthetes. Not only the black square but equally the crushed automobile,...

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