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BEST OF 2012. This December, Artforum continues its tradition of polling prominent critics, artists, and curators on what stood out among a year of surveys and studio visits, biennials and triennials. Eleven luminaries—Vince Aletti, Jack Bankowsky, Daniel Baumann, Daniel Birnbaum, Lynne Cooke, Willem de Rooij, Russell Ferguson, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Matthew Higgs, Eungie Joo, and Helen Molesworth—give their top-ten picks, while six others—Claire Bishop, Thomas Crow, Hal Foster, Tim Griffin, Bruce Hainley, and Ken Okiishi—reflect on the single exhibition they found most memorable.
“Oldenburg’s work calls to mind the moment when signification exploded into being.”
—Hal Foster on “Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties,” Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna
“The show was an emphatic reminder that the future direction of MoCA matters far beyond LA.”
—Russell Ferguson on “Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974,” The Geffen Contemporary at MoCA, Los Angeles
“Sherman’s foray into wallpaper is a near Brechtian exercise in affect.”
—Helen Molesworth on “Cindy Sherman,” Museum of Modern Art, New York
“The exhibition was timed to be the perfect air-kiss good-bye to the first American Frieze Art Fair weekend, climaxing, as usual, in a bruncheon on the polo field.”
—Bruce Hainley on “Karen Kilimnik,” Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT
“To have the luxury of learning this work through repeated observation brings home afresh what gifts and privileges can still be made possible by the public museum.”
—Claire Bishop on Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Fase at the Tanks, Tate Modern, London
· In this issue’s keynote essay, scholar and critic Benjamin H. D. Buchloh ponders the fate of critique, memory, and class in our contemporary moment: one in which culture must come to grips with changing subject positions, with identities lost and new.
“What is left available to us that we could call criteria of distinction and judgment that would not immediately appear as a resignation, melancholia, or a restoration of some lost aesthetic, toppled authority, or relinquished cultural privilege of the bourgeoisie of the past?”
—Benjamin H. D. Buchloh
· Plus: J. Hoberman, Susan Oxtoby, James Quandt, Amy Taubin, and John Waters rate the best in film; John Cale, @ LIL INTERNET, Jason Moran, Liz Wendelbo, and Rob Young replay the greatest hits in recent music; and eleven contributors—including Charles Bernstein, Yve-Alain Bois, Peter Eisenman, Anton Kaes, Rosalind E. Krauss, and Ewa Lajer-Burcharth—choose the best books of 2012.
“Devin Fore’s Realism After Modernism: The Rehumanization of Art and Literature completely reshuffles the deck of the antimodernist rappel á l’ordre.”
“‘Hurts! Hurts! Hurts!’ yells out the dying elderly wife to her husband, and ticket buyers will agree.”
—John Waters on Michael Haneke’s Amour
“The walls protecting hip-hop’s historical homophobia and perplexingly arbitrary code of masculinity are finally getting wavvy.”
—@ LIL INTERNET
· And: Maxwell L. Anderson assesses the state of American art museums; Christopher Glazek looks to Lana Del Rey for pop music’s contemporary paradigms; David Velasco relives the Year in Dance; and we take stock of three major international biennials, with Briony Fer on the São Paulo Bienal, David Joselit on the Busan Biennale, and Pauline J. Yao on the Gwangju Biennale.
· For this year’s Artists’ Artists, an international group of fifty-nine figures—Jo Baer, Trisha Baga, Jérome Bel, Roe Ethridge, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Mark Flood, Katharina Fritsch, Sam Lewitt, Kerry James Marshall, Ryan McGinley, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and James Welling among them—select a single image, exhibition, or event that captured their eye this year.