Apart from a few years in the 1960s when the New York
culture czar Henry Geldzahler tossed some stardust around, the
Metropolitan Museum was a fusty backwater for contemporary art, and an
object of scorn in the art world. New work seemed to arrive only in
bland job-lot batches. Exhibitions kept being awarded to angsty British
painters who had peaked before World War II.
"The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984," the museum has finally made a big
leap into the present, or near-present. A decades-long snooze may be
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