Fall Art Shows Promise Quiet Pleasures and Rewards Not a Blockbuster in Sight, but These Tourng Exhibits Provide Food for Thought

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The buzzword for the fall art season is "connoisseurship." Museum exhibitions in New York address a broad spectrum of art history, from Old Masters to rebellious Beatniks. The goal is to train the viewer's eye with side-by-side comparisons of real and fake masterpieces, expand awareness of seldom-seen artworks, and evaluate an entire cultural movement. Real versus fake The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers two exhibitions that compare accepted masterpieces with paintings now "de-attributed." In other words, fakes. "Goya at the Metropolitan" presents more than 300 works from the museum's collection, from drawings to oils. The show contrasts, for example, the popular painting "Majas on a Balcony," which is of doubtful authenticity, to a verifiable Goya from a private collection. Also on display are Goya's print cycles in their entirety, such as "The Disasters of War" with its harrowing images of brutality. A month later the Met does it again, with "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt." Paintings, drawings, and prints by Rembrandt and his wannabe pupils and imitators hang cheek by jowl, challenging the viewer to discern and judge. Only about half - or around 20 - of the Met's "Rembrandts" have been confirmed by the Rembrandt Research Project, which has been striking terror into the hearts of curators the world over. The hit of the fall season is likely to be a show in an entirely different vein, "Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965," at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The show examines the Beat generation's cultural legacy through more than 200 objects from this explosive period of artistic ferment. The multidisciplinary show highlights writers such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs; independent films such as Robert Frank's "Pull My Daisy," jazz musicians including Charlie Parker, and artists such as Larry Rivers, Robert Rauschenberg, and John Chamberlain who shared the Beat sensibility. More from these artists is at other venues. Rauschenberg will occupy the downtown Gagosian Gallery with new paintings on metal. Ginsberg shows his captioned portraits of buddies like Paul Bowles, Burroughs, and Gregory Corso in a lovely exhibition of photographs at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery. All the lonely people Overlapping the Beat show at the Whitney is a retrospective of Robert Frank's photographs, which opened at the National Gallery in Washington and will travel to Los Angeles's Lannan Foundation next spring. Known for his legendary book, "The Americans" (1959), the Swiss-American photographer punctured Eisenhower-era complacency with his tense images of lonely men and women - a quintessential Beat critique. …