In the life of certain art institutions there sometimes comes a moment—call it the moment of truth—when, as the result of a particularly fateful and disastrous decision about their future course, they stand revealed as the unmistakable enemy of all the standards and traditions and achievements they have claimed to represent. Policies.and programs which, prior to this revelatory moment, might be regarded as merely misguided or inadvertent or simply ignorant, suddenly acquire a more sinister and menacing character when their full implication is made so baldly apparent to us. It is only then that we come to understand that these institutions may now constitute a real threat to the life of art and its place in our society.

For many people concerned with the life of art in this country, the program of the Whitney Museum of American Art has now come to constitute a portent of this kind. Much has...


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