Looking at the new season and the forces shaping it

So far, at least, the coming 1982-83 art season promises to be little more than an extension of the season that ended in June. No one seems particularly excited about most of the scheduled museum exhibitions, or about the individual gallery shows planned from the fall through spring - although a few of the museum shows do look promising (full reports of who will be showing in the galleries are just now beginning to come in).

From all indications, it should continue to be a growth period for post-modernism, the kind of art that establishes its identity by stretching beyond the ideals and taboos of modernism to probe areas previously held to be reactionary, academic, kitsch, superficially decorative, tasteless, or even trite.

While post-modernism certainly has enlivened the art scene, its basic premise that modernism is dead remains highly debatable. Modernism - whose roots lie in impressionism and in the art of Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin - is extraordinarily resilient, and has been declared dead several times before. I suspect that the post-modernists have mis

taken the cool and often sterile art of the past two decades for modernism itself, and have predicated their exuberant iconoclasm upon the demise of this latter form, rather than upon modernism's full historical range. Modernism, I'm beginning to suspect, will be with us for a long time to come - although it will appear in different guises from time to time.

The 1982-83 season should also see a greater incursion by the West German neo-expressionists, and by the more wild and woolly Italians. I also suspect that their American equivalents will have a good year, and that American art, in all, will find itself pretty much bursting at its seams, but necessarily with significance.

But that's as easy to predict as the fact that it will snow this winter in New York. Not so obvious (largely because it will not be exotic or dramatic enough to be covered by most of the art press) will be the steady growth and improvement of the gentler and more quiet artists among us. These will continue on their way, following their own vision (be it ''modern'' or ''traditional'') toward whatever point of creative resolution they are capable of achieving. For better or worse, what these artists produce and exhibit will make up at least 95 percent of what we will see during the new season.

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