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The Boston Globe

Arts

How much do we believe in abstract art?

There was a time when abstract painting functioned in the homes of the wealthy as a provocation, when certain types of people used to set themselves apart in matters of taste and intelligence by their ability to appreciate marks on canvas that referred to nothing in reality.

Many paid vast sums for such works, mounted them unframed on the walls of their lofts, and drew all kinds of complex satisfactions from seeing their guests not know what to make of them.

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