December 1, 2008 - Artforum - December 2008
December 1, 2008

December 2008

December 2008 in Artforum

“The Best of 2008.” Not quite sure where you stand? For better perspective, Artforum‘s traditional December look back at the Year That Was also features considerations of What Tomorrow Might Bring—with a global cast of critics, curators, artists, and art historians taking stock of art, music, film, and books at our current cultural turning-point.

“Suddenly, questions that might have seemed like idle ‘critical art’ catchphrases before the crisis took on an unanticipated urgency. ‘How do we want to be governed?’ and ‘Who if not we should at least try to imagine the future of all this?’ have accrued new and profound resonances.” —Charles Esche

“A new kind of cultural and political surge is under way, to the graceful one’s advantage. We are witnessing not just a generational but a millennial change. Will our timid cultural institutions respond? Go Barack!” —Okwui Enwezor

“When the sexy, smart-ass characters burst into songs about brain tumors, saliva, and human sandwiches, I get all teary inside and realize that this is the only romantic comedy I’ve ever really loved.” —John Waters on Christophe Honoré’s Love Songs

Also: More than a dozen writers—Enwezor, Lynne Cooke, Daniel Birnbaum, Matthew Higgs, Christine Macel, Jack Bankowsky, Suzanne Cotter, Michael Ned Holte, Sabine Breitwieser, Ann Goldstein, Philip Tinari, Chus Martínez, and Bob Nickas—select their Top Ten picks of the best in art; while five others, including Benjamin H. D. Buchloh on Lawrence Weiner at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Claire Bishop on Jérôme Bel at Sadler’s Wells in London, and Isabelle Graw on Yves Saint Laurent’s “Raspail” handbag, profile signal artistic and cultural endeavors of the past year.

“If the credit-driven economy is a fiction that no longer functions, art, too, will have to put dysfunction back into play. It will get smaller, weirder, and more monstrous.” —John Kelsey on Daniel McDonald at Broadway 1602, New York

In addition: Michael Hardt, Briony Fer, Jonathan Crary, Arthur C. Danto, and many others write up their best books; Robin Rimbaud, Brigitte Fontaine, Ryoji Ikeda, Vashti Bunyan, and Damon Krukowski survey the year in music; Waters, Amy Taubin, James Quandt, Karen Cooper, and Stuart Comer select the highlights in cinema; and Artforum‘s band of insiders give the lay of the land in different cities, with columns by Caroline Busta and Linda Yablonsky on New York, Walead Beshty on Los Angeles, Emily Pethick on London, Dominikus Müller on Berlin, Cathryn Drake on Naples, and Colin Chinnery on Beijing. And, finally, “The Artists’ Artists”: The toughest judges say which shows inspired and influenced them most, with contributions from Joan Jonas, Marlene Dumas, Jack Pierson, Duncan Campbell, Sharon Lockhart, Carsten Nicolai, Morgan Fisher, Charline von Heyl, Harun Farocki, and many, many more.

“In the coming years we may see various forms of protest and refusal when people become aware of how they are being forced to pay the bill for neoliberalism’s catastrophic failure.” —Michael Hardt

“I read it as Greenberg for Dummies. Contemporary art requires antidotes like this periodically.” —John Baldessari on Rodney Graham at 303 Gallery, New York

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