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June 20, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE GETTY KOUROS COLLOQUIUM text edited by Angeliki Kokkuo (Kapon Editions/The J. Paul Getty Museum/Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation/Museum of Cycladic Art: $9.95, available from the J. Paul Getty Museum: (800) 223-3431, FAX: (310) 453-7966). Since its arrival in Malibu in 1983, the Getty's $9-million statue of a young athlete has been the subject of acrimonious debate. The 19 participants in a seminar held in Athens in 1992 agree that the figure is carved from authentic Thasian marble, but that's all they agree on. Although few of the scholars are willing to declare the statue genuine or fake, they suggest their positions by discussing details: Are the proportions of the torso awkward or an attempt to please an ancient patron's taste? Do the curls of the hair look too "doughy," too calculated? How did the sculptor handle the flaws in the stone? Their arguments offer insights into the debate over one of most controversial works of art in Southern California.

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