December 1, 2011 - Artforum - December 2011
December 1, 2011

December 2011

December 2011 in Artforum

THE BEST OF 2011. In our annual December tradition, Artforum invited preeminent artists, critics, and curators from near and far to cast an expert eye on the year in art. Twelve contributors—Wolfgang Tillmans, Manuel Borja-Villel, Christine Macel, Scott Rothkopf, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Jack Bankowsky, Matthew Higgs, Mai Abu ElDahab, Jay Sanders, Michael Ned Holte, Lee Ambrozy, and Daniel Birnbaum—count down their top ten highlights of 2011. Four others—Lynne Cooke, Diedrich Diederichsen, Hal Foster, and Tim Griffin—single out luminary exhibitions:

“He has no fear of ordinariness.”
—Wolfgang Tillmans on Thomas Struth

“As we all know, art is a shadowy realm where social elites, bohemian enragés, and shifty impresarios rub shoulders, gossip, and share beds with the enemy. This exhibition thrillingly explored such double agency.”
—Cuauhtémoc Medina on “Un lugar fuera de la historia” (A Place Out of History), Museo Tamayo, Mexico City

“Here, the catastrophes of modernism were invoked in what went unsaid.”
—Diedrich Diederichsen on “Florian Pumhösl: 6 7 8,” Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien

“The point isn’t whether or not LA needs such cheerleading but that we all need museums to collectively dig so deep and dream so big.”
—Scott Rothkopf on “Pacific Standard Time”

“Zumthor’s understated structures do not merely accommodate their inhabitants; they ground them.”
—Lynne Cooke on Peter Zumthor’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London

· And, amid today’s momentous global unrest, cultural theorist Ariella Azoulay and critic Negar Azimi seek to address new forms of signification and protest in our time:

“We are learning, from one city after another, that this new civil language does not need much in order to spread: It is contagious.”
—Ariella Azoulay

· Plus: This year’s best in film comes to light, with Top Tens from John Waters, Amy Taubin, James Quandt, Regina Schlagnitweit, and Ed Halter; the best of music is scored by George Lewis, Mark Mothersbaugh, Nick Relph, Tobi Vail, and Venus X; David Velasco presents highlights in dance; and ten contributors—including Anthony Vidler, Michael Fried, J. Hoberman, Graham Harman, Ralph Ubl, and Dawn Ades—discuss their favorite new publications.

“Against the quiet desperation underlying art critics’ surrender either to theory or to historicism, Michael Fried’s Four Honest Outlaws offers a rare counterexample.”
—Ralph Ubl

“You’d think I’d hate this film, and I almost did—until I realized it’s the best New Age, heterosexual, Christian movie of the year.”
—John Waters on Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life

· Also: An international group of forty-five artists—George Condo, Lena Dunham, Mark Grotjahn, Hassan Khan, Christian Marclay, Carrie Moyer, Laura Owens, Taryn Simon, Emily Sundblad, and Cheyney Thompson among them—point to the most impressive shows, performances, and events that this year had to offer; and in reviews, Elisabeth Lebovici translates the lyrical passages of the 11th Biennale de Lyon, Daniel Birnbaum pieces together the 12th Istanbul Biennial, Ekaterina Degot surveys the 4th Moscow Biennial, and David Salle takes a dip in Dana Schutz‘s survey at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York.

All of this and more, in Artforum‘s encyclopedic end-of-year issue.

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