During the Ice Age that has hit New York this winter there have been afternoons when the pedestrian traffic on Fifty-seventh Street slows to a trickle and the art galleries are so empty you feel as if you’re alone in an arctic dream. In the fugue state that’s induced by going around the city in the extreme cold, it may be difficult to feel much of a sense of urgency around contemporary art, but historical shows can take on a special power, perhaps because with New York looking and feeling so unfamiliar, it’s easier to slip into a reverie about what New York was like forty or sixty years ago. A visitor to the exhibition at the Zabriskie Gallery that celebrated the Daniel Gallery, which was in operation in New York between 1913 and 1932, could feel transported to the early days of modern art in America, when the work of Charles Demuth and even Peter Blume and Yasuo Kuniyoshi felt confusing, challenging, new. At the Galerie St. Etienne’s...


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