Friday, January 05, 2007

Top 10 Art Things 2006

10. The Whitney Biennial

I stopped hating this predictable train wreck last time around. It's much more fun to just embrace the mess of it all, and be done with it. That way I'm free to focus on the entertainment value of the human folly that surrounds it. Also, I get to enjoy the good art that does make it through the doors. Paul Chan, Jim O'Rourke, Robert A. Pruitt, Marilyn Minter, Zoe Strauss, Mark Bradford . . . killers all. It was a kick to run my hand over so many of the art world's exposed seams. The Biennial is a necessary vomiting of the soul, whether it means to be or not.

9. Marilyn Minter Studio Visit Via Creative Time

At one point a painter friend leaned over and whispered into my ear, "I have chills." Yep. At the very least, yo. Learning more about Minter's labor-heavy process made me love the work even more. She rules, utterly and completely.

8. The Société Anonyme at The Hammer

Easily one of the most perfectly installed and curated shows I've seen in my life. And one of the most generous, from every possible angle.

7. Robert Rauschenberg's Combines at MOCA

When I saw this show at the Met I wouldn't have thought it possible to improve upon it, and then I saw it at MOCA. The installation in LA allowed for a lively conversation among the pieces that wasn't as freeflowing when it was in New York.

6. Nicola Tyson at Friedrich Petzel

I'm sad to say that I wasn't familiar with Tyson's work before this. I mean, like, really sad. Like, crying-myself-to-sleep-at-night sad. This show of paintings was all luscious wonder and unexpected drives to the basket.

5. Bunny Love at The NY Burlesque Fest

Trust me. It was art. And it was the most cathartic bit of it that I saw all year. I had pretty much given up on any protest art carrying much power until Bunny Love and my number 4 pick came along. I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or scream so I did all three.

4. Susan C. Dessel's Our Backyard: A Cautionary Tale at Dam, Stuhltrager

This installation reminded me of how much I hated that damn Peace Tower at the Biennial and the crushingly boring Thomas Hirschorn at Barbara Gladstone. Quite simply, this show delivered a body blow. Pun very much not intended. It affected me on a visceral level and it wouldn't let go.

3. Wendy White at Sixtyseven

The fact that Mary Boone hasn't scooped up White just tells me that the Hardest Eye In Town needs to start doing more of her own work again. This show had me giddy and muttering the word "Fu-u-uck." in the middle of the gallery.

2. Kate Gilmore all over the damn place

Group shows, a solo show at Pierogi, and one of the best damn studio visits I've ever had. I wasn't very familiar with her work until I saw her piece, Cake Walk, in a group show at ExitArt. Just like Gilmore, I fell fast and I fell hard.

1. Zoe Strauss's I-95 Show

Hell, yeah! For two hours in May--after a year of plotting--Zoe Strauss posted her photographs to the pillars underneath I-95 in South Philly and made everything right in my world. It was one of those rare times when art fulfilled every promise it's ever made to me. Nothing in 2006 reached in and grabbed me the way this installation did. The sheer audacity of it was inspiring. The viewpoint was mad powerful. It was all there: beauty, horror, compassion, anger, hate, love . . . everything was a broken wall.


roberta said...

Go Zoe!! You are so right, Brent. She's single-handedly saving art from its too-precious-for-this-planet self. Great list!

Christopher Paquette said...

"It was all there" cuz Zoe is all that!! Kudos Zoe!

Heart As Arena said...

Thanks and YES.

Mike @ MAO said...

wow.. great list...

And I am so green that you got to go to Marlyn Minters Studio... I got shut out of the Whitney Contemporaries tour..

Creative Time & Zoe Rock!

Heart As Arena said...

Wao. Mao. Thanks! And your right . . . CT and ZS rock like Gibraltar.

ZS said...

Seriously, being on this list is a highlight of my career.