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22 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend


‘T. REX: THE ULTIMATE PREDATOR’ at the American Museum of Natural History (through Aug. 9, 2020). Everyone’s favorite 18,000-pound prehistoric killer gets the star treatment in this eye-opening exhibition, which presents the latest scientific research on T. rex and also introduces many other tyrannosaurs, some discovered only this century in China and Mongolia. T. rex evolved mainly during the Cretaceous period to have keen eyes, spindly arms and massive conical teeth, which could bear down on prey with the force of a U-Haul truck; the dinosaur could even swallow whole bones, as affirmed here by a kid-friendly display of fossilized excrement. The show mixes 66-million-year-old teeth with the latest 3-D prints of dino bones, and also presents new models of T. rex as a baby, a juvenile and a full-grown annihilator. Turns out this most savage beast was covered with — believe it! — a soft coat of beige or white feathers. (Farago)
212-769-5100, amnh.org

‘2019 WHITNEY BIENNIAL’ at the Whitney Museum of American Art (through Sept. 22). Given the political tensions that have sent spasms through the nation over the past two years, you might have expected — hoped — that this year’s biennial would be one big, sharp Occupy-style yawp. It isn’t. Politics are present but, with a few notable exceptions, murmured, coded, stitched into the weave of fastidiously form-conscious, labor-intensive work. As a result, the exhibition, organized by two young Whitney curators, Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta, gives the initial impression of being a well-groomed group show rather than a statement of resistance. But once you start looking closely, the impression changes artist by artist, piece by piece — there’s quiet agitation in the air. (Cotter)
212-570-3600, whitney.org

‘JEFF WALL’ at Gagosian (through July 26). Rumination and risk-taking, in equal measure, mark this conceptual photographer’s spellbinding new exhibition. The show, Wall’s first at this Chelsea gallery since ending a 25-year run with the rival dealer Marian Goodman, feels decidedly introspective. Figures alone in contemplative trances, or alienated from their partners in scenes of evident tension, define most of the works. The encyclopedic visual literacy that has long characterized Wall’s pictures (with their compositional echoes of old master paintings) has been pared back, allowing more psychological complexity to emerge. Just as new is an emphasis on narrative and sequence; among the pieces are two diptychs and an enveloping, cinematic triptych. (Karen Rosenberg)
212-741-1717, gagosian.com

‘THE WORLD BETWEEN EMPIRES: ART AND IDENTITY IN THE ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through June 23). The Met excels at epic-scale archaeological exhibitions, and this is a prime example. It brings together work made between 100 B.C. and A.D. 250 in what we now know as Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. In the ancient world, all were in the sphere of two competing superpowers — Rome to the west and Parthia to the east — and though imperial influence was strong, it was far from all-determining. Each of the subject territories selectively grafted it onto local traditions to create distinctive new grass-roots cultural blends. Equally important, the show addresses the fate of art from the past in a politically fraught present. (Cotter)
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

‘MATTHEW BARNEY: REDOUBT’ at Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven (through June 16). The wildly innovative sculptor and filmmaker, Yale class of 1989, heads back to the halls of ivy to present his first major project since the six-hour excremental eruption of “River of Fundament.” The exhibition shows Barney in a lighter, nimbler mode than he has displayed in years. The new film “Redoubt,” shot in his home state of Idaho, riffs on the myth of Diana and Actaeon; the goddess, here, is an NRA-approved sharpshooter, while the doomed voyeur is the artist himself, making plein-air etchings of Diana and her attendants. Related copper etchings appear in the show, and Barney has electroplated them over varying times, encrusting them with weird metal nodules. “Redoubt” lacks the operatic grandeur some of Barney’s fanboys prefer. But it’s the most emancipated work of his career, and it should make a star of Eleanor Bauer, the dancer and choreographer whom he has entrusted with the film’s most beautiful movement sequences. The film runs about two hours and screens on Saturday afternoons and on select weekdays; check the website for times. (Farago)
203-432-0600, artgallery.yale.edu

‘LINCOLN KIRSTEIN’S MODERN’ at the Museum of Modern Art (through June 15). With George Balanchine, the indefatigable Kirstein (1907-96) founded the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet. But he was also an impassioned writer, collector, curator and devotee of photography who had much to do with MoMA in its early years. The museum commemorates his complex career with art, letters and ballet ephemera, drawn from its vast holdings. (Smith)
212-708-9400, moma.org



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