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The Year Observed

The Year Observed

The Year in, and Beyond, the Galleries

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It’s been brutal trying to whittle down a “best of” list for 2013, but the top slot? That’s easy: the New York art world’s recovery after Hurricane Sandy. It’s astounding to think back to October 2012, when galleries were flooded and art was destroyed, when artists and art handlers, dealers and interns could be found without electricity, carrying soggy works from basements, tearing out drywalls and trying to figure out what to do next. The entire foundation of the art world felt threatened. But galleries dug out. They raised money to help dealers who had suffered losses, and by January most of the affected ones were up and running again.

That experience colored the year for me, as I suspect it did for others. I can’t prove empirically that the art world got any nicer, but it felt like a sense of camaraderie grew out of it. It made an already strong year in art feel just a little bit stronger. Read More

The Year Observed

The Most Memorable Gallery Shows of 2013

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‘Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned’ at Petzel Gallery

‘Dieter Roth. Björn Roth’ at Hauser & Wirth
It featured the late Dieter Roth’s collaborators, his son, Björn, and grandsons, Oddur and Einar, casting busts of their forebear in chocolate; a full-scale bar, prepared Roth-style for the artists’ use during installation and then opened to inspection, if not use, by the public during the show; and half a dozen of Roth’s supernatural transformations of the materials of his life into art. But the show probably remains most memorable for The Floor I and The Floor II, two 19-by-40-foot sections of wooden floor pulled out of Roth’s studio in Mosfellsbaer, Iceland, and tipped up on their sides to display at once the artist’s breakneck ambition and the colossal scale of a new gallery sited in the former Roxy Disco. Read More

The Year Observed

The 10 Best Museum Exhibitions of 2013

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4. ‘Photography and the American Civil War’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

10. [Tie] ‘Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800′ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
A show about trade, slavery and colonialism told through decadent textiles. The wars were bloody, the use of raw material and sheer craft stunning. Embroideries about colonial brutality, cotton Toile prints depicting Hawaiian massacres of pirates, and garments and wall hangings that embody literally tens of thousands of hours of labor. A sumptuous prehistory to global capitalism: People treated humans as objects and gave objects the status of people. Read More