Paper Pushers, ‘Younger than Jesus,’ and Tree Time at the Met

c art Paper Pushers, ‘Younger than Jesus,’ and Tree Time at the MetLast week, a visitor to my apartment told me the knickknacks on my mantel were “beautifully curated.” People, if it’s not art, and it’s not in a museum, it’s stuff you “chose” or maybe “picked,” or, if you must dress it up, “selected and arranged.” O.K.?

Good. Now onto this season’s exhibitions. MoMA’s got a promising lineup: A retrospective of the work of German artist Martin Kippenberger (March 1 through May 11) features the work of the artist who died an untimely death in 1997 at the age of 44. Kippenberger was an artist whose fearless ecleticism was often spiked with a bit of self-parodying humor (for an example, check out his 1990 sculpture of a crucified frog grasping a beer mug). Also at MoMA, “Paper: Pressed, Stained, Slashed, Folded” (March 11 through June 22) investigates the works of artists who, during the ’60s and ’70s, rediscovered the virtues of paper as a medium. Featured artists include perennial curator crush-object Ed Ruscha, along with Sol LeWitt (subject of an ongoing exhibit elsewhere in the museum), Robert Rauschenberg and Richard Tuttle.

Downtown, the New Museum attempts to overcome its lackluster early impression with the first installment of its new triennial series,The Generational” (April 8 through June 14). The show, subtitled “Younger Than Jesus,” will feature the works of artists born since 1976, and will attempt to capture the sensibility of a generation that, according to the exhibition’s Web site, “has yet to be described in any way beyond their habits of consumption.” Ouch! Fifty young artists from 25 countries round out the program.

Step into just about any artist’s studio these days, and you’ll find that the line between fine art, architecture and landscape design has all but disappeared. P.S.1’s summertime exhibitions have been at the forefront of showcasing this trend, and this spring, the Metropolitan Museum is making its own foray with its display of Roxy Paine’s site-specific sculpture Maelstrom (April 28 through Oct. 25), which will be installed on the Met’s roof garden. Check out his sculpture Conjoined, currently installed on the lawn of Madison Square Park across from the Flatiron Building, for an idea of where Mr. Paine will be going with the piece: He creates treelike sculptures that skip lightly between organic and man-made forms. And if it’s Friday night, when the Met’s open late, why not stick around for a classical music performance at the Grace Rainey Rogers auditorium? Like so many of the great things about this city, it’s world-class, weirdly affordable and hidden in plain sight.

ddacosta@observer.com