Art: The Innocent Abroad

The art of Norman Rockwell is touring the U.S. in triumph. Is the art world ready? Are you?

When it comes to Norman Rockwell, we all know what we're supposed to think. Rockwell is to modern art what Robert Mapplethorpe is to family values--a slap in the face to all serious standards. So much the worse that for decades he was the best-loved American artist, at least until he was usurped by an even shrewder judge of the national disposition, Andy Warhol. To the art world Rockwell was an exasperating holdout, the man who didn't care that in the 20th century it was simply uncalled for to paint sweet-tempered vignettes in a representational style at something like a molecular...

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