July 24, 2019

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

27 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

‘VIOLET HOLDINGS: LGBTQ+ HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE N.Y.U. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS’ at Bobst Library (through Dec. 31). With the Stonewall Inn now a National Historic Landmark (and a bar again; it was a bagel shop in the 1980s), nearby New York University has produced a homegrown archival exhibition at Bobst Library, across the park from Grey Art Gallery. Organized by Hugh Ryan, it takes the local history of queer identity back to the 19th century with documents on Elizabeth Robins (1862-1952), an American actor, suffragist and friend of Virginia Woolf, and forward with ephemera related to the musician and drag king Johnny Science (1955-2007) and the African-American D.J. Larry Levan (1954-92), who, in the 1980s, presided, godlike, at a gay disco called the Paradise Garage, which was a short walk from the campus. (Cotter)
212-998-2500, library.nyu.edu

‘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

‘ART AFTER STONEWALL, 1969-1989’ at Grey Art Gallery (through July 20) and at Leslie-Lohman Museum (through July 21). For this summer’s half-century anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, substantial displays of art produced in the long wake of the uprising are filling New York City museums and public spaces. The largest is this two-part exhibition, organized by Jonathan Weinberg and shared by Grey Art Gallery at N.Y.U. and Leslie-Lohman Museum. The Leslie-Lohman half, which focuses on the 1970s and has lots of archival matter, feels tight and combustible. Much of what’s in it was hot off the political burner, responsive to crisis conditions. The pace at Grey, where much of the work dates from the 1980s, is more measured, but has tensions of its own as the story encompasses AIDS and the culture wars. (Cotter)
212-998-6780, greyartgallery.nyu.edu
212-431-2609, leslielohman.org

‘LOVE & RESISTANCE: STONEWALL 50’ at New York Public Library (through July 13). Organized by Jason Baumann, this archival show functions as a timeline of the gay rights movement from the founding of the Mattachine Society in the 1950s through Stonewall and its immediate aftermath. Pictures by Diana Davies and Kay Tobin Lahusen, lesbian photojournalists, mark a forward path that is lined with protest posters, dance club fliers and L.G.T.B.Q. publications (Transvestia, Demi-Gods, Third World Women’s Gayzette). (Cotter)
917-275-6975, nypl.org

‘HITO STEYERL: DRILL’ at the Park Avenue Armory (through July 21). This German ironist may be the art world’s most compelling investigator of technology, politics and war, but she comes up short with “Drill,” a major new three-screen video that fills the armory’s huge central hall. Her subject is American gun violence, examined through interviews with survivors and historians and set to a score by a precision marching band; though impassioned, it jettisons the artist’s keen gaze on systems of power for up-with-people smugness. Better, and more urgent, are earlier works here that plumb the wild world made by contemporary technology — above all “Duty Free Art,” a 2015 lecture performance that maps bewildering (and mostly real!) connections among the Syrian civil war, art-world tax evasion and Justin Bieber’s Twitter account. (Farago)
212-616-3930, armoryonpark.org



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