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View of “Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos,” 2012–13. Left, suspended: Günter Weseler, Objekt für Atemtraining (Object for Breathing Exercises), 1969. On table: Nine untitled and undated works by James Castle. Photo: Benoit Pailley.

Rosemarie Trockel

View of “Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos,” 2012–13. Left, suspended: Günter Weseler, Objekt für Atemtraining (Object for Breathing Exercises), 1969. On table: Nine untitled and undated works by James Castle. Photo: Benoit Pailley.

IN AN ESPECIALLY COMPELLING SIGHT LINE offered by “Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos,” one can simultaneously take in a humongous preserved lobster, a sleek, jet-engine-like aluminum sculpture by the somewhat-forgotten Parisian artist Ruth Francken, and three modest gestural abstractions painted by an orangutan named Tilda. While ostensibly conjoined under the rubric of “natural history”—one of the four thematic orders of things that Trockel and curator Lynne Cooke used to organize the exhibition—this heterogeneous group buzzes with an innate feeling of kinship so convincing it makes rational taxonomy seem entirely beside the point. Although these objects are, respectively, a preserved specimen of nature, an artwork by a historical figure, and a new piece by Trockel (who acquired the three paintings, framed one in a Perspex box, and assembled them into a triptych titled Less

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