Monday, December 12, 2011

Top 10 for 2011

2011, what a year. It’s not over yet, we still have 19 glorious days to go of it but as I lay about with the cats and reflect back upon this year and what is to come, there are highlights, lowlights and the in-betweens that have made 2011 a jam packed year. Below are a few things that made a dent in my brain, for good or for bad, which have made this year fly by.

10) Young curators. Some may not notice this, but there is a lot of transition going on in the top museums and institutions in this town. There are many new younger curators that have been given more carte blanche and it is really making things more zingy to see and to be excited about. This is happening mostly at MoMA, but I predict this will swell in the other sanctums of art, especially at The Met and at the Whitney, just my own voodoo predictions there, but even if those don’t happen it is thoroughly refreshing to see some new tastemakers being given authority to influence.

9) The end of the recession. I know some may not think this, but the worst of the recession is over. I know that things are still tough out there for many people but in the art world and in New York City, things are perky and fast once again. This is a good thing even though some think that there should still be more of an art world purge. We all need the money to flow again, especially those that aren’t the super rich or powerful. Yes, we have to be creative and not delusional or lie down dead and except things as they are about this financial situation, but things are looking up and this will only ensure better and more substantial things.

8) Non-profits failing. I’m not sure what is happening but there are a few non-profit institutions that have become behemoths of late, I am thinking of two in particular, and the rest seem to be emaciated. For a bit now, the weight loss of these other creative bastions was worn well, like skinny girls at fashion week, but now it’s just too malnourished. Where have all these places gone? Well, technically they are still physically there but they seem so sedate. Is this because the introduction of new, young artists to the scene is no longer reliant on this system anymore? Who knows, but it’s a sad trend and one that hopefully rebounds in the new year.

7) Klaus Bisenbach. My gawd, could anyone have predicted that this severely hair-cutted German could have had such influence on the arts?! He’s one we all love to hate but really the man is like a crazy-Jesus-magician. Walking on water and changing water to wine level and it has been making New Yorkers salivate. We all need a target, we all need a charismatic someone to draw the line in the sand and as much as it is mildly horrifying, it’s very effective. Will he last though? That’s the million-dollar question. My two cents fling themselves at his feet and say, “pretty please, pick me!” Well just in case, because like Jesus, if he IS real you better have all your bases covered for the big judgment day.

6) Internet movies and TV. Maybe I’m like so 2009, but dang, the internet is really getting movie and TV streaming done right. Everything is now so clickably available and it makes things much more interesting, well at least the times you need to just unwind and tune out. For a while now, the influence TV and movies have had on the art world has been a non-factor, something that fascinated our parents but not us youths, but with this new ease, these mediums will once again be very relevant to the conversations about art and image making.

5) No more Deitch. When he left last year, I didn’t think it was for real. I thought that it would all crop up in some form or another in the tentacle web of the Deitch cognizanti but alas, there hasn’t been. For me, this is a positive thing in some ways as I thought it was all a farce to begin with but surprisingly, I also sort of miss it. There was something undoubtedly ghastly in the way that anything was possible through his gallery, but oddly I miss that sense of unnecessary but impressive possibility.

4) The de Kooning retrospective at MoMA. Seriously, go see it if you haven’t, and go see it one more time if you already have. It is still sitting with me, like a loaf of challah bread about to be made into French toast. Makes a person want to start painting or at least squeeze a ball of clay.

3) Facebook. For the love of gawd when will it stop?! I am still perplexed about how Facebook has been so normalized and is so a part of everyone’s daily measure of self. It is transforming the way that we as a society interact, communicate and perceive others and ourselves. It is totally pedestrian and promotes a vulgar level of voyeurism but it’s like a powerful drug which daily stimulates our very human need to connect with others. I doubt it will end in the near future but I can bet an imagined 10k that it will be passé by year 2013. Whoever the next social networking genius is who manages to usurp it, can count me in and please give me stock options as well.

2) Good galleries doing good shows. This was a very solid year of art in the galleries in New York, the top contemporary galleries kept cranking out the hits with established and beloved artists from their rosters in a very consistent way. There seemed to be less flash but that was good as the bigger-newer-better thing was getting old. The lack of this in your face art sensations was refreshing and allowed artists that have been around for the past few decades to prove their chops once again. I’m so over the hip and young dash and although more will pop up as things get more moneyed, it’s a delight to see people like Marclay, Goldin, and the like to get face time and prove that this kids, is how it’s done.

1) The Meta. There is a trend happening that is bigger then any medium that uses it. It is that of The Meta, where ideas, visuals, systems, and everything else is not being overtly analyzed or critiqued but it is being re-presented in its most heightened configuration. I’m thinking Dis, Trecartin, crazy fashion that mixes Arab with goth nun, and the dialogues about the internet. It is all so very cool, sharp, clean, lucid and irony free. This is the new species of thought and it is not bred but fused together with lasers and alcohol free DJ sets. It’s an odd mix of club world meets PhD programs mixed with eunuch. It is humorless but very witty in turn. I can’t keep up with it, it’s just not my thang, but there is no doubt that it is the super chillest thing happening.