Museums Offering Ambitious Exhibits

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Prepare to travel this season -- and plan ahead if you want to beat the crowds. The millennium craze gets under way early as museums from New York to Houston mount sweeping surveys on subjects ranging from ancient Egypt to 20th-century America.

Here are a few highlights:

"Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids": A picture of the Old Kingdom, an era of unprecedented grandeur that marked the earliest beginnings of Egyptian tomb art and architecture. Objects great and small bring this 4,500-year-old culture alive, from monumental stone reliefs to the tools used to build the pyramids. This is the first major exhibition to focus on this period, and it contains more than 250 objects from 30 museums worldwide. Many are rarely seen by the public; others are being reunited for the first time since their excavation. Through Jan. 9 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Suggested admission fee is $10 for adults. Call (212) 535-7710.

"Diego Rivera: Art and Revolution": A tribute to Mexico's most famous 20th-century artist. This all-encompassing survey begins with an academic drawing Rivera made at age 12 and ends with a 1956 painting of a Labor's Day Parade in Moscow, completed one year before his death at age 71. Images of friends and colleagues are included, among them artist Frida Kahlo, the wife with whom he had a stormy relationship. Special emphasis is placed on Rivera's radical politics and on the role he assumed as painter for the masses. Sunday through Nov. 28 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. $3 for adults until Oct. 24, $5 after that. Call (713) 639-7300.

"Nic Nicosia: Real Pictures 1979-1999": Riveting images of suburban life turned sour -- some comic, others sinister -- by an internationally recognized Dallas artist who pioneered in the field of staged photography. Nicosia choreographs all of his own material, using friends and acquaintances as actors. He recently started making videos and films and proves himself a natural in these areas as well. Through Nov. 28 at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Free. Call (713) 284-8250. …


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