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The Year in Art

Matthew Barney, Secret Name, 2008/2011  


It Was the Year of…: Waiting in Line for Art
We did it for The Clock. We did it for “Alexander McQueen.” We’ll do it to get into the groundbreaking exhibitions, come hell or high water. But do we really need to be cooling our heels just for those individual, experiential artworks? (Wait time at MoMA’s Abramovic show peaked at over twelve hours.) Most of the “experience” at “Carsten Höller: Experience,” now up at the New Museum, is spent standing around, awaiting a few moments’ fun.

Top Comeback: Matthew Barney
It’s been five years since everyone’s favorite J.Crew model turned conceptual artist had a show in New York, and eight years since his seminal, semen-soaked “Cremaster Cycle” exhibition at the Guggenheim. (Had he retired to planet Björk?) His recent exhibition at Gladstone, “DJED”—three huge sculptures crafted from very un-Barney materials like bronze, lead, and copper—gripped, surprised, and intrigued us. He’s still got it.

Best Use of Art-World Clout: Gagosian’s “Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’Amour Fou”
Larry Gagosian’s excessive sway and prestige let him borrow many of these 80 works from major collections, almost impossible for any other gallery. The result was a bold, salacious, and tightly focused primal portrait of the shifting dynamics between the painter and his fleshy young lover-muse. Carnal energy has rarely been so powerfully concentrated.

Top Up-and-Comer: Ryan Trecartin at MoMA P.S. 1
At 30, he’s not exactly a newcomer, but Trecartin’s summer MoMA P.S. 1 solo show, his first at a major New York museum, was the one that really delivered his distinct brand of mind-numbingly shrill, oppressively flamboyant, tightly scripted video installation to the masses. If all the chipmunk babble, cracked-out storylines, and fast edits are still making you want to run for the vomitorium, just be patient.

George Condo, The Insane Queen, 2006  

Most Overrated: George Condo at the New Museum
Collectors go batshit for him, and a recent New Yorker profile revealed that he gets driven around in a limo, loves gambling, hangs with the likes of Kanye West—who hit him up for some media-stunt album-cover art—and collects fancy French furniture. Unfortunately, this fixation on artifice is also reflected in his paintings, which are still rife with kitschy appropriation and self-congratulatory mockery. Maybe everyone likes being in on the joke?
— Miranda Siegel


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