Today, over 400 members from the International Association of Art Critics (AICA-USA) honor what they believe are the best exhibitions of 2012. Strangely, the organization of art critics, scholars and curators chose some of New York’s biggest blockbusters for the top slots. With such lukewarm reactions to shows like Ann Hamilton’s swing extravaganza at the Park Avenue Armory and Jay DeFeo’s stonehenge-like retrospective at SFMOMA and The Whitney, we’re disappointed. This would have been a great opportunity to laud some of the great work being done by emerging artists and curators, not to mention smaller non-profits. The winning shows are likely to be the ones people have seen, and that’s only one means to determine value. With these considerations at hand, it might be time for AICA to re-evaluate the judging process.
The full list of winners can be viewed on AICA’s site and below:
AICA BEST SHOW AWARD WINNERS
BEST PROJECT IN A PUBLIC SPACE
1. “Ann Hamilton: The Event of a Thread,” Park Avenue Armory, New York.
2. “Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: The Murder of Crows,” Park Avenue Armory, New York.
BEST SHOW IN A NON-PROFIT GALLERY OR ALTERNATIVE SPACE
1. “Mike Kelley: 1954-2012,” Watermill Center, Water Mill, NY. Harald Falckenberg, curator.
2. “Nayland Blake: FREE!LOVE!TOOL!BOX!,” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Betti-Sue Hertz, curator.
BEST SHOW IN A UNIVERSITY GALLERY
1. “Société Anonyme: Modernism for America,” Yale University Art Gallery. Jennifer Gross, curator.
2. “Toxic Beauty: The Art of Frank Moore,” Grey Art Gallery, New York University. Susan Harris and Lynn Gumpert, curators.
BEST ARCHITECTURE OR DESIGN SHOW
1. “California Design, 1930–1965: “Living in a Modern Way,” Los Angeles County Museum of Arts and Design. Wendy Kaplan and Bobbbye Tigerman, curators.
2. The Art of Scent: 1889-2012, Museum of Art and Design, New York. Chandler Burr, curator.
BEST DIGITAL, FILM, PERFORMANCE, or VIDEO EXHIBITION
1. “Jack Smith: Normal Love,” MOMA PS1. Christopher Y. Lew, curator.
2. “Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets,” Museum of Modern Art, New York Ron Magliozzi, Curator, Department of Film.
BEST SHOW IN A COMMERCIAL GALLERY IN NEW YORK
1. “Happenings: New York, 1958–1963,” Pace Gallery. Milly Glimcher, curator.
2. “Georges Braque, Pioneer of Modernism,” Acquavella Galleries.
BEST SHOW IN A COMMERCIAL GALLERY NATIONALLY
1. “Photography Into Sculpture / The Evolving Photographic Object,” Cherry & Martin, LA. Based on an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, 1970, organized by Peter Bunnell.
2. “Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha,” Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Mika Yoshitake, curator.
BEST MONOGRAPHIC MUSEUM SHOW IN NEW YORK
1. “de Kooning: A Retrospective,” Museum of Modern Art. John Elderfield, curator.
2. “Matisse: In Search of True Painting—An Exploration of Matisse’s Painting Process,” Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rebecca Rabinow, curator. Earlier versions of the exhibition: “Matisse: Paires et Séries,” Centre Pompidou, Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, Paris. Cécile Debray, curator, and “Matisse: Fordobling og Variation,” Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. Dorthe Aagesen, curator.
BEST MONOGRAPHIC MUSEUM SHOW NATIONALLY
1. “Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; travels to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Dana Miller, curator.
2. “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art; exhibition travels to the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stephanie Barron, curator.
BEST THEMATIC MUSEUM SHOW IN NEW YORK
1. “Materializing ‘Six Years’: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art,” Organized by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum; Catherine Morris and Vincent Bonin, curators.
2. “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” Metropolitan Museum of Art; travels to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Mia Fineman, curator.
BEST THEMATIC MUSEUM SHOW NATIONALLY
1. “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980,” Hammer Museum and MoMA PS1, New York. Kellie Jones, curator.
2. “Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in association with the Museum of Contemporary Art. Paul Schimmel, curator.
BEST HISTORICAL MUSEUM SHOW NATIONALLY
1. “Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925,” Museum of Modern Art . Leah Dickerman, curator, with Masha Chlenova, curatorial assistant.
2. “The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini,” Co-organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie. Keith Christiansen & Stefan Weppelmann, curators.
To the Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute, for their roles in organizing the 2011 exhibition Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970, and for initiating and stimulating the development of a panoramic network of exhibitions in Southern California museums, galleries, alternative spaces, schools, and homes. This sprawling group portrait of a region documented and reclaimed the little-known history of the artists who worked and lived in the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Region, illuminating the pivotal role they played in shaping the ethos and aesthetics of postwar California.