My top ten list is out at The L Magazine. The first two below.
1. John Baldessari: Pure Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Is John Baldessari the most important artist of his generation? His ginormous traveling retrospective, currently on view at The Met, suggests he might be, highlighting a massive body of work that reflects both a curator’s dream and the contemporary condition. These days, we’re all participating in the sorting of images, which is why the half-century Baldessari has spent examining why we like the pictures we do is so valuable. This takes different forms of course, from a series of photographs in which the artist chooses carrots he likes, to a grid of self-portraits in which he sports different haircuts and facial hair. Mostly this show makes number one on my list though because of the sheer volume of work that resembles an unusual stock image collection. Somehow there seems very little that is as relevant to contemporary artists as Google image search.
2. The 2010 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum
No giant survey show is perfect, but this iteration of the Biennial was as good as it gets. As I wrote at the time, a lot of this is luck; it’s not like there’s a selection criteria here past what’s been good over the last two years—but so what? The exhibition was restrained enough that viewers could absorb everything they looked at. There were only 55 artists this year, as opposed to 81 in 2008. Curators Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari also arranged the show so that works requiring longer viewing times were grouped together, which is greatly respectful to viewers’ needs. Highlights from this Biennial included Nina Berman’s war vet photographs, Sharon Hayes’ video installation and Sarah Crowner’s black and white zigzag paintings.
To read the full list click here.