Return of the Mexican Spitfire

Painter, playwright, novelist, wrestler: Catching up with a Renaissance woman

'The Dinner Party'
March 23

Judy Chicago's canonical installation, with its triangular motifs celebrating female achievement, is at the heart of the new 8,300-square-foot "Museum Within a Museum" in the Eastern Parkway building. Global Feminisms, an international survey including such contemporary artists as Catherine Opie and Miwa Yanagi, and Pharaohs, Queens, and Goddesses will complete the inaugural trifecta of this permanent center for feminist art. Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy, 718-638-5000

'Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797'

Rosalyn Drexler's "The Defenders"
image: Ellen Labenski/courtesy PaceWildenstein Gallery
Rosalyn Drexler's "The Defenders"

March 27–July 8

This collection focuses on a millennium's worth of artistic exchange between a thriving Christian maritime city and her Islamic neighbors. With its wealth of paintings, illuminated texts, maps, textiles, gorgeous ceramics, and other objects from both cultures, the show might be asking, Can't we all just get along? Metropolitan Museum, 1000 Fifth Ave, 212-535-7710

'Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan'
March 28–June 17

These 47 Chinese and Japanese paintings from the 12th to 16th centuries may look surprisingly fresh to eyes conditioned to manga. With its lively brushwork and bearded monk grinning as he holds aloft a crustacean he is about to eat (in defiance of the Buddhist prohibition on taking life), The Shrimp Eater feels quite contemporary. A portrait in which the sitter is wrapped in sumptuous, elegantly hued fabrics has been painted on silk, creating a resonance between image and materials. Japan Society, 333 E 47th, 212-832-1155

Bill Smith
April 19–May 19

Mixing magnets, brass wire, nylon bristles, springs, tiny electronics, and other mechanical ephemera with pine cones, maple seeds, and various other natural detritus, Smith has created delicate and beautiful hybrids that react to their environment with elegant skittishness. PPOW, 555 W 25th, 212-647-1044

Marc Quinn
May 3–30

While it's tough to top the visceral impact of the self-portrait head he made from his own frozen blood in 1991, Quinn's painted bronzes of Kate Moss pretzeled into yoga positions are plenty twisted in their own right. Objectified well beyond her fashion shoots or runway turns, the glamorous waif is all smooth, inverted, symmetrical angles. Mary Boone, 745 Fifth Ave, 212-752-2929

Chitra Ganesh
May 3–June 9

Raised in India and the U.S., this Brooklyn-born artist has said, "There's a lot of eroticism and violence and perversion in mythology, but it's only put there to be stamped out and made to disappear." Ganesh's previous detourned Hindi comics and livid wall paintings of Indian gods and demons revel in, rather than stamp out, transgressions; these upcoming photos feature a semi-nude woman with tentacle-like braids accompanied by a probing, disembodied hand. Thomas Erben, 526 W 26th, 212-645-8701

'Summer of Love'
May 24–Sept. 16

Exuberant rock posters from the Fillmore West; a Plexiglas room that envelops the viewer in rainbow colors and visions of altered states; re-creations of psychedelic rock shows—a stunning time capsule from the counterculture's heyday, and man, can we use it now. Whitney Museum, 945 Madison Ave, 1-800-WHITNEY

Scott Richter
May 31–July 20

In the past, Richter has sculpted ziggurat-like piles of oil paint on tabletops; in this show, his thick conglomerations will jut from the wall. Sky 2 is almost a half-foot deep and over two feet across, and its gradation of colors from orange to dusky purple reads like a desert sunset. Elizabeth Harris,529 W 20th, 212-463-9666

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