Art: Eight Cool Contemporaries

Now in its 46th year, New York's Museum of Modern Art is still the most powerful certifier of taste in American visual art, and its choices come to us, willy-nilly, with the appearance of historical predictions. Hence the interest in its current show, assembled by Curator Jennifer Licht and entitled "Eight Contemporary Artists."

What would the old Modern pick from the bewildering landscape of a decayed avant-garde in the 1970s? The result, though not wholly predictable, is not very surprising. Most of the eight artists are under 40 and (with the exception of a body-artist and performer named Vito Acconci)...

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