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When Modern Meant Graphic

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John Haber reviews The Graphic Impulse, a recent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, featuring works on paper by Oskar Kokoschka, Vasily Kandinsky, Erich Heckel, Emil Nolde, E. L. Kirchner, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Käthe Kollwitz.  Athough the show's title plays on two meanings of the word "graphic" – explicit imagery (of war) and works on paper – Haber notes that "The show also presents an alternative history of Modernism… The roughly two-hundred and fifty works seem largely indifferent to Cubism. Here space is compressed rather than fragmented and multiplied, while real bodies shatter."

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