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SPREADING THE WORD: COLIN McCAHON

GLOBALIZATION, OUR MANTRA OF THE MOMENT, only carries so far where art is concerned. A case in point: A major contemporary of Rothko, Newman, Pollock, Twombly, and Johns—an artist fully at their level of achievement—is in the midst of his first major touring retrospective. Most of you reading this will be in no position to see it.

The artist is Colin McCahon, and, yes, he is that good. The exhibition, titled “A Question of Faith” and curated by Marja Bloem, originated at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, a venue of no small historical prestige. Despite the best efforts of its organizers, however, no partners in Europe or North America could be secured, and so the show has traveled directly to a series of key sites in the Southern Hemisphere, where it still has one stop to go—the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, November 15–January 18, 2004—after its current outing at the National

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