Here’s a better model for year-end link lists: Only chose one link! I asked 18 of my favorite professionals to do just this, leaving the subject matter completely at their discretion. The format doesn’t solve the inevitable difference of taste issues between readers and linkers — one person’s trash is another person’s Titian — but it at least eliminates the impossible chore of having to rate 20 unrelated items. It also creates a list in which each link is special to someone. For me, that creates a year-end list worth reflection.
- Jen Bekman, Founder/Curator 20×200 | Jen Bekman Projects
- Ben Davis, Associate Editor, Artnet
- Howard Halle, Editor-at Large, Time Out, New York
- Joel Holmberg, Artist, Internet user
- Paddy Johnson is Art Fag City
- Caitlin Jones, Executive Director of the Western Front Society
- Paul Laster is the editor of Artkrush.com, a contributing editor at
Flavorpill.com and Art Asia Pacific, and a contributing writer at Time
Out New York, TheDailyBeast.com, and Art in America.
- Isla Leaver-Yap, is a writer and curator based in New York. She is editor-at-large of MAP.
- Sally McKay, Toronto artist, writer and independent curator
- Joanne McNeil writes about culture and technology at The Tomorrow
- Lorna Mills, Visual Artist and co-producer with Sally McKay of an art site blog thing that most resembles a bus ride: Sally Mckay and Lorna Mills
- Tom Moody, Artist/Musician/Blogger
- Javier Morales, Artist
- Felix Salmon, Economics blogger for Reuters
- Jerry Saltz, Head Art Critic, New York Magazine, Number 73 on Art Review's 'Power 100 List;' one ahead of Jasper Johns. Hah!
- Rachel Sklar, Editor-at-Large, Mediaite
- Hrag Vartanian is really Hyperallergic but don’t tell anyone.
- Wendy White, Artist
Jen Bekman, Founder/Curator 20×200 | Jen Bekman Projects
Glass Jars by Alec Soth. A quote from Ms. Bekman over IM: I love [Soth’s] video stuff… Most people are afraid to do things outside their field of expertise, full stop. To do it publicly is brave and kind of brilliant.
Ben Davis, Associate Editor, Artnet
Hyperallergic’s “Powerless 20″ list of “20 Most Powerless People in the Art World,” is funny, but also a much-needed antidote to those doofball ArtReview “Power” lists, which mainly go to flatter egos that don’t need to be flattered.
Howard Halle Editor-at Large, Time Out, New York
The Day Job Orchestra has been doing mash-ups of Star Trek (both the original and Next Gen) with random bits of absurdist dialog for a couple of years now, but they struck internet gold with this clip of Picard & co encountering the Ferengi; it garnered some Three-quarters of a million hits on YouTube in a couple of days. Frat-boy humor? Absolutely, but it also achieves a sublime level of surrealism that Breton would have undoubtedly appreciated had he listened to Led Zeppelin.
Seriously, hope all is well mate..
VBS.tv. Donk. Normally I despise everything to do with Vice Magazine but even I have to admit there are a few great pieces on VBS.tv. Amongst some gems this year is Jamie Hedgeson’s documentary on the techno genre of “donk.” A slightly different take on the well worn narrative of economic depression and isolation in the North of England — this time with 150 beats per minute, alcopops, and shirtless dudes on steriods with fake tans.
Zuper Whack Aoke Remix from Zuper Whack on Vimeo. Naturally, the Internet not only hosts more Robert Downey Jr. fan art than I ever thought existed, but actually found a use for it. Perhaps the natural evolution of animutation — an early form of web animation that mutated the faces of pop stars — producer Super Whack brings together live footage of Robert Downey Jr., Steve Aoki's single I'm in the House, and endless drawings Downey Jr.’s face. The result has proven dangerous, at least for me: I’ve actually missed meals compulsive replaying this video.
Paul Laster is the editor of Artkrush.com and countless other publications.
Cory Arcangel’s Drei Klavierstücke op. 11. The DIY ingenuity of Cory Arcangel’s Drei Klavierstücke op. 11, which consists of three YouTube videos of cats performing Arnold Schoenberg’s 1909 atonal masterpiece Drei Klavierstücke op. 11 (Three Piano Pieces, Opus 11), is remarkable. Watching the videos on the artist's website offers the viewer the opportunity to learn about the creative process, discover other videos that inspired him, and see the actual videos that he sampled. Both compelling and absurd, this whimsical work of art is an absolute delight.
Isla Leaver-Yap is a writer and curator based in New York. She is editor-at-large of MAP.
The Politics in the Room. The alumni of Lux’s very first Associated Arts Programme in 2007 put together this strong online group show of film and video, borrowing Gregg Bordowitz’s question of the personal within the political. Using the intimacy of the online format to showcase work that is by equal measures elegiac, satirical and hypnotic, Politics in the Room hints at the promise of what is to come both from the AAP (now in its third year) and from these early career artists. Personal highlights include James Richards and Matthew Noel-Tod.
LOL salmon image created by Craig Bennett for his blog prefrontal.org
Sally McKay (Toronto artist, writer and independent curator)
My favourite blog post of 2009 — The Internet Found the Atlantic Salmon — is a follow up to The Story Behind the Atlantic Salmon by neuroscientist Craig Bennett. As part of a routine calibration procedure Bennett and his team used a dead salmon as a control subject in an fMRI experiment. When the scan showed signs of brain activity, the researchers decided to publish the results. The point of their poster (& subsequent paper) is not to prove that dead salmons are thinking about things, but rather that it is easy to get false positives from MRI if the math is not done properly, thus gently tapping a toe on the brake pedal of contemporary claims that MRI can directly reveal what people are thinking and feeling. Why should online artists give two hoots about a minor squabble in the neuroscientific community? Because it serves as a reminder that the cultural claims implied by all imaging technologies call for a degree of skepticism.
Lorna Mills, Visual Artist and co-producer with Sally McKay of an art site blog thing that most resembles a bus ride: Sally Mckay and Lorna Mills
Blingee.com for the sheer joy of making an inane image even more ridiculous.
Tom Moody, Artist/Musician/Blogger
Rising Tensions ( http://risingtensions.tumblr.com/ ) is the tumblr blog of Stephanie Davidson ( http://www.stephd.biz/ ), a prolific GIF-maker and recycler of web ephemera. In 2009 she did the work of three surf clubs, literally, since the main group blogs active in 2006-2008 dialed it back considerably in the Great Recession’s Year One. Davidson combines original animation skillz with an art-school-trained eye that filters a steady stream of low rent pop culture and internet in-jokes (on the current front page: swiveling floppy disc, Freaky Friday mind exchange, Home Alone gradient, Gary Numan inner robot, and infinite snot-morphing-into-head GIF).
Joanne McNeil writes about culture and technology at The Tomorrow Museum.
You Are George Bush It seems hard to believe now, but this time last year, George W. Bush was still our president. A writer in Argentina who goes by “Tyler Durden” wrote what appears to be a science fiction “Chose Your Own Adventure” story parodying the worst mistake America made this decade. Found on NYU’s ITP blog digest.
Javier Morales, Artist
The Cosmic Crystal by Paul Falcone. This is my favorite video I found this year. It’s a short film that was featured on the 70’s children’s show Zoom. Home made, super 8 sci-fi with a pink floyd soundtrack.
Felix Salmon, Economics blogger for Reuters
No, it’s not Wolfgang Tillmans: it’s actually a photo from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of dust devils on the Martian surface.
Jerry Saltz, Head Art Critic, New York Magazine
Misinformer of the year: Glenn Beck [above] and Media Matter’s Most Outrageous Comments of 2009.
Outrageous comments are nothing new to the conservative media — one might even call them a defining characteristic. The Most Outrageous Comment of the 2009 came when Fox News host Glenn Beck asserted that Obama is a “racist” who has “exposed himself as a guy” with “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture,” but right-wing media figures made plenty of other unhinged remarks throughout the year…
Rachel Sklar, Editor-at-Large, Mediaite
There was one thing on the Internet this year that obsessed me like no other: Lady Gaga’s video for “Bad Romance.” This video is off-the-charts amazing – gorgeously shot and thrillingly edited, opulent and extravagant, detail-rich and packed to the gills with them. It’s mesmerizing – at least, it mesmerized me, so much so that I was compelled to freeze-frame it to study it more closely, and then to emulate it insofar as my nerve and pale-imitation talent could suffice. (Oh, but I wasn’t alone.) It’s the truly great art that inspires more art – and also, damn what a hook. I’d love this song even without the Alexander McQueen shoes, and those shoes even without the song, but wrapped up in that entire package? Fantastic. Stunning. Gorgeous. Gaga.
Chocked full of grade A wit, the Fake AP Style Book twitter feed set a new record for getting serious publishing attention (it took them only 2 weeks and 314 tweets to land an agent and we all know a book deal is in the works).I love that it skewers grammar nazis — a demographic that seriously needs to lighten up — and I also love that there are people in the world who are smart and spend time on the geeky stuff I love to hate, like editing and style guides.
Wendy White, Artist
This is a clip of Todd Rundgren’s 1974 TV performance of the classic “Hello It’s Me.” He’s wearing Cosmic Cowboy chaps and using pre-recorded accompaniment, which he fully discloses to the audience. A total tech nerd, Rundgren made one of the first videos aired on MTV, developed a digital paint program in 1981, and was one of the first artists to use Video Toaster in the early 1990s. He did lots of other weird stuff, like composing music for Pee-wee’s Playhouse and Dumb and Dumber, but “Hello It’s Me” is still his best-known song. This year he sold the rights for a Tums Dual Action commercial. The last place I heard it was at T.J. Maxx.