December 1, 2009 - Artforum - December 2009
December 1, 2009

December 2009

December 2009

“The Best of 2009.” Looking for the bright spots of the past year? Artforum‘s annual roundup puts the question to a global cast of artists, critics, curators, scholars, and writers—including Daniel Birnbaum, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Lynne Cooke, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Charles Esche, Matthew Higgs, Christine Macel, Allen Ruppersberg, Amy Sillman, and many more—whose Top Tens and thematic essays survey the most significant and compelling moments in art and culture as we reach the decade mark of a young century.

“No event of this entire year, and perhaps no event for years to come, could rival the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as America’s first postcolonial commander in chief.” —Okwui Enwezor

“No name, no text labels, no printed information: The visitor was spared all the usual pomp of a Venice pavilion and could delight in the fact that art might still ‘create an illusion’ to such an extent.” —Christine Macel on Roman Ondák at the Venice Biennale

These radicals made the Weathermen look like pussies.” —John Waters on Uli Edel’s Baader Meinhof Complex

And: Authors, critics, filmmakers, and musicians recount their highs from the year that was: Ian Birnie, Chrissie Iles, James Quandt, Amy Taubin, and John Waters screen the best in film; Bonny Billy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vijay Iyer, Stephen Prina, and Gavin Russom say what was music to their ears; David Velasco surveys new moves in dance and performance; and Jonathan Crary, Rosalind Krauss, Rachel Kushner, Carsten Nicolai, Joachim Pissarro, Primary Information, and others sit down with their favorite books.

“It deserves the designation ‘most provocative and interesting book’ due to its tone, style, urgency, black humor, and unqualified rejection of our entire civilization.” —Rachel Kushner on the Invisible Committee’s Coming Insurrection

“The entrance was free and the dance floor was sweaty during Juanita More’s show downstairs at the Vandam this summer. By 3 am, one tranny was trying to hold my hand while another was telling me about her problems via drunken hand movements. I thought, ‘Wow, maybe New York is back.’” —Gavin Russom

Plus: Art historian and critic Hal Foster assesses the complexion of art as it has developed during the past decade, while film critic J. Hoberman contemplates the future of cinema. And fifty artists—Tauba Auerbach, Karla Black, John Bock, Tom Burr, Ida Ekblad, Renata Lucas, Matt Mullican, Raymond Pettibon, Piotr Uklanski, Andro Wekua, Fred Wilson, and Susanne M. Winterling among them—choose the past year’s most important exhibitions, works, and performances.

“She recovered the humanity of dance from the tomb of its idealizations.” —Andrea Fraser on Yvonne Rainer at REDCAT, Los Angeles

“Collections and collectors are fascinating. String collectors, button collectors, tractor collectors, newspaper collectors, record collectors, book collectors, stamp—well, maybe not stamp collectors.” —Allen Ruppersberg on “Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

“If a Fauve is a wild color painter, is there a special name for a wild-old-lady painter?” —Amy Sillman on Maria Lassnig at Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and MUMOK, Vienna; Dorothy Iannone at the New Museum and Anton Kern Gallery, New York; and Carol Rama at Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin

Finally: In reviews, Liz Kotz reflects on Lutz Bacher at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York; Martha Buskirk sizes up Allan Kaprow’s Yard, recently restaged at Hauser & Wirth in New York; Daniel Quiles reports on the first major survey of Damián Ortega at ICA Boston; and Alan Licht finds enlightenment at Mike Kelley and Michael Smith’s Voyage of Growth and Discovery at SculptureCenter in New York.

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