Don’t expect to see a more beautiful show than “Golden Kingdoms: Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas” anytime soon. The exhibition, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a fresh, transformative take on pre-Columbian art. It boasts more than 200 objects made from gleaming gold, green and blue jade, resplendent macaw feathers, turquoise, and coral-colored, scallop-shaped Spondylus shells, among other materials. It’s ravishing.
But it’s more than that. It’s chewy. It’s mind-bending. It has enough fresh scholarship behind it to make you rethink basic assumptions. And it has, at the show’s end, a small but concentrated dose of world-historical drama that will stop your heart.