Myriad Visions

The 20th century saw more restless experimentation with style and content in art than any other in history. Never before had there been so many ideas about what art could be or how it could be made; never had new art been the subject of such impassioned controversy or reached so large an audience. Museums, especially in the U.S., had to embrace newness or look retro. The century didn't see the birth of the avant-garde--that had happened earlier--but it did bring its death, after experiment and eccentricity became the norm. Inevitably, all that had seemed startling or threatening came to look...

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