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Edvard Munch
The Hands
Clarence Buckingham Collection
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by Pedro Vélez

People are turned on by drama, especially when it evokes bohemian values: loneliness, obsession, poverty, lust. Vincent van Gogh is a master painter but he also cut off his ear. This kind of drama is good for the museum business. In fact, it has become so trite that the Art Institute of Chicago, with its new exhibition, "Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety and Myth," Feb. 14-Apr. 26, 2009, pretends to close the door on the hyperbole surrounding one of the art world’s most famous bohemians.