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Drawings by four rising artists. Also, new book traces Viennese watercolorists

Fortunately, the art of drawing continues to make new friends. I say fortunately because it is often through the immediacy and informality of emerging artists' drawings that we can best gain an insight into their creative intentions. That is certainly the case with four young Americans whose drawings are on display in the Whitney's Lobby Gallery. Chosen by associate curator Richard Armstrong, these freely executed, generally quite large works on paper demonstrate drawing's special ability to capture an artist's most subtle or idiosyncratic thoughts and attitudes.

All four - George Condo, Mike Kelley, Ellen Phelan, and Janis Provisor - reflect the younger generation's increased detachment from any program or orthodoxy. Condo is both the best known and the most effective. All, however, make their points with flair and considerable wit. Through July 3.

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A volume lovingly produced

It isn't often that a book introduces the general public to an entire area of hitherto unknown pictorial delights. But that is exactly the effect ``Viennese Watercolors of the Nineteenth Century'' (Abrams, $95) hopefully will have. Written by Walter Koschatzky, director of the graphic arts collection of the famous Albertina Museum in Vienna, and documented by 250 illustrations (150 in color), this lovingly produced book should provide many hours of pleasurable viewing.

Koschatzky's text is clear, rich in detail, and reflects the author's total commitment to his subject. It covers the period from roughly 1780 to 1890, introducing the reader to such extraordinary artists as Rudolf Von Alt, Thomas Ender, Peter Fendi, Josef H"oger, Moritz Daffinger, Carl Schindler, and Johann Passini.

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