Saltz: Did Modernism Even Happen in America?

John Steuart Curry (1897–1946), Baptism in Kansas, 1928. Oil on canvas, 40 1/4 × 50 1/4 in. (102.2 × 127.6 cm.) Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.159.

Photo: Robert Gerhardt and Denis Y. Suspitsyn/Digital Image ? Whitney Museum of American Art

Last week, the Whitney museum opened its new building to the public with the exhibition “America Is Hard to See,” spanning several floors and drawn entirely from the museum’s permanent collection. Because that collection is what it is, the emphasis was on work from the first half of the 20th

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