1. Dana Schutz at Petzel
This show was pretty much perfect. Dana Schutz’s paintings evoke the same type of extravagant rhythm, color, and texture that I imagine enthralled Kandinsky’s yeasayers in the early 20th century. Her cartoony characters bend and sway in the same manner as her brushstrokes, and it’s just mesmerizing.
2. Brad Troemel’s Etsy Store
From Brad Troemel’s Etsy profile:
I take pride in providing some of the most significantly organic, inscrutably rare, and immeasurably valuable products on Etsy…Can you imagine how rare something is that doesn’t even exist? I wish I could sell those products because they would be worth way more than the ones that do exist.
Right now, you can buy Brad Troemel’s odd objects, ranging from locked up tacos to framed bath salts, for as much as a personalized onesie on Etsy. His project does more than turn these (functional) objects into (functionless) art; he gives them a new, absurd function, like locking up ground beef. All this takes absurdity to new heights.
3. Bill Bollinger at SculptureCenter
If there’s one thing museums and nonprofits do better than galleries, it’s digging up unknown artists and throwing them back into the art canon. After seeing Bollinger’s show at SculptureCenter, I’m pretty sure he deserves a resurrection: his absurd object-sculptures evoke what’s happening in sculpture now, from Virginia Overton to Stephen Lichty.
4. Franz Erhard Walther at Dia:Beacon
This show opened in 2010 and ended in early 2012, but it’s making my list regardless because Dia let you wear Walther’s felt suits the way the artist intended them to be experienced. Normally, these kinds of functional items would be turned into display objects for fear they’re too fragile.
5. Dan Walsh at Paula Cooper
I’m into any painter who can riff on Minimalism in a smart way. I’m doubly into someone who can do that while making humorous and visually compelling work.
Maybe these are just geometric paintings, with cylindrical shapes that sometimes look like hot dogs, but I’m not sure. It’s that doubt and confusion about the seriousness of the work that keeps me interested.