Every now and then, one comes across something that is so much a product of the times as to seem a parody of them. A find of this sort occurred a few months ago, when I received in the mail an invitation to subscribe to Artnews magazine. The letter began by pointing out, with barely restrained glee, the role which art plays in contemporary life:

Go to any major art opening these days, and you're likely to rub shoulders with more celebrities than at most Broadway or Hollywood premieres! Join the auction sale of a new Jasper Johns painting, or a De Kooning, and watch the bidding go up, up and up—past the million dollar mark! Or simply follow the Saturday crowds to a popular art gallery and feel the electric excitement that fills the air!

Artnews, I was then assured, would serve as my “guide” to this “exciting, expanding, exploding art world.”

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