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I'LL TAKE THE HIGH ROAD, YOU TAKE THE LOW ROAD

“HIGH AND LOW: Modern Art and Popular Culture,” just mounted by the Museum of Modern Art, seems to have crashed and burned on impact like one of Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop-art jet fighters. The reviewers in the daily and weekly press have seen to that. It is not often, after all, that the New York Times is willing to label as “a disaster” such a major and long-anticipated undertaking by a kindred civic institution. The exhibition, along with what remains of its credibility, will now limp across the continent to Chicago and Los Angeles over the coming year. But this protracted aftermath is potentially a more interesting spectacle than the one stage-managed within the confines of the museum, because it will go on demonstrating a fundamental fact about its chosen subject: it won’t stay in the museum or, for that matter, within the boundaries of the polite consumption of art.

The exhibition’s first

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