Art: A Beauty Really Bare

Do the Minimalist austerities of Sol LeWitt amount to a saint's hair shirt or just the Emperor's new clothes?

Does the ancient Puritan connection between virtue and boredom still run beneath the glitzy, pleasure-roiled surface of American culture? For the answer, go and visit the retrospective of Sol LeWitt's paintings, sculpture and prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. It will dispel your doubts, without necessarily offering you lots in the way of superior pleasure. The Puritans, as descendants of the men who tried to destroy the whole legacy of English medieval art, exalted the Word and the Idea and distrusted the visual icon. It was blasphemy to represent the face of God, idolatry to...

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