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Best Museum Exhibition 

Contemporary Masterworks: St. Louis Collects

St. Louisans can be a leetle touchy about how we're perceived. Ever since Chicago relegated our metropolis to second-to-Second City status, we've had a potent case of the "us too"s that sorta makes us look like chumps. "Deeds not words," as Ace Hunter once suavely intoned; deeds not words make the case. Contemporary Masterworks: St. Louis Collects proved that if anything, we're more cosmopolitan and more hip than we give ourselves credit for being. An exhibition of modern art drawn from actual St. Louisans' actual collections demonstrated that there is a substantial base of people in this town with great taste. With no unifying factor for the show other than the geographical location of the art owners, St. Louis Collects was a mighty deed; works by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Christo, Alighiero e Boetti, Jasper Johns and Tom Huck shared the Contemporary's space, each one a testament to the purity of the individual artist's vision, but collectively a subtle statement to the world. And that statement, "St. Louisans are sophisticated, cultured, smart cookies," is one we shouldn't be afraid to make more often.

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