Critical Culture of 2011
Unlike music, film, or even books, art and cultural trends are harder to pin down, suffused as the genre is with retrospectives and resurrections. Add to that the prominent place given to artists who are iconoclasts, and the task of a critic is made all the harder, but I'll try to sum up our favorites of 2011.
Fashion is in, as it were, with the Alexander McQueen dazzler at the Met, one of the most prominent of several shows giving center stage to couturiers. Pablo Picasso will continue to appear on top 10 lists (we loved his Guitars show at MOMA) long after we've all passed on, though attention must be paid to those who have toiled somewhat at the margins until now. Soul-baring comedian and podcast interviewer Marc Maron, timekeeper Christian Marclay, and Nick Cave (he of the sound suits instead of sound tracks) made quite an impact on our writers. Nan Goldin and Richard Serra were given free reign to explore their focused obsessions and neither disappointed.
At the Whitney a celestial phenomenon cast a long shadow in Sarah Charlesworth's haunting The Arc of Total Eclipse, while in the universe of apps, a kind of artistry emerged from the clutter of digital culture. In a perfect (virtual world) RJDJ would change the way we interact with our surroundings and the future would be just a bit cooler. We can't wait to see you in the New Year and share our thoughts about Diego Rivera's murals, Maurizio Cattalan's high-flying pranks and whatever else the purveyors of culture have in store.