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View of “Walead Beshty,” 2017. Photo: Christopher Burke.

Walead Beshty

Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

View of “Walead Beshty,” 2017. Photo: Christopher Burke.

With an intermittent soundtrack provided by the futile jittering of wrecked office equipment displayed like broken bodies skewered on pikes, and colossal flat-screen displays that had been mortally injured and then strung up in the fashion of cold-room carcasses, the opening rooms of Walead Beshty’s recent exhibition at Petzel suggest a Dr. Moreau–style project updated for the digital age—a ruthless program of mechanical vivisection designed to forcibly bestow an organic bearing on a set of captive entities. Yet if this ambitious show initially seems to wear its high-tech-abattoir vibe a bit blithely, it turns out to be a considerably more nuanced enterprise as it unfolds across the gallery’s spaces. In addition to the brute deformations with which the exhibition begins, the pieces on view also include a number of considerably more oblique, less easily digestible works. Taken

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