Art: Trend

Before World War II, it was common practice for U.S. artists either to tout or tear apart "The American Scene." Last week two big annual shows (the Whitney Museum's "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting" and the "120th Annual" of the conservative National Academy of Design) seemed to say that times have changed.

The cultural self-consciousness of prewar years was almost gone. U.S. artists were concentrating more on nature, and on themselves. Instead of the sterilized barnyards of "American Scene" art, there were carefully detailed, out-of-the-way beauties. Instead of hoggish politicians and slack-breasted shopgirls, there were powerfully expressionistic symbols of luxury┬Świth the...

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