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Fond Memories of '06

China Painting 1995-96I think it’s the time of year to do something totally new, like an end-of-year list of my favorite 10 shows: bear with me, this has never been done before. In no particular order...

1. Dada was an exhibit that truly surprised me by its depth, the number of artists that were actually involved in the movement, the volume of work displayed, and how relevant the work is to our current times.

2. Brice Marden’s recent retrospective at MoMA was one of my favorite exhibits this season. It’s rare to have an opportunity to view a large body of an artist’s work, especially spanning a career.

3. Combination of The Armory Show and the Pulse Fair. I haven’t made the trip to Miami to see the Art Basel tournament of art buying/viewing, but the New York version is a similar beast. Everyone is gearing up for them in February. I’ve met some wilted gallerists who have just returned from Miami. Love them or not, they have become a vital part of the art trade, and several dealers have confided that they could not survive without them.

4. Manet: The Execution of Maximilian at MoMa. All three versions of this amazing painting.

5. Day for Night, the Whitney Biennial, is another exhibition that brings a mixture of surprise and yawning. Even with the advent of the Wheeler Dealer art fairs, museum-sponsored surveys such as the Whitney’s are still a huge cachet boost for artists. This particular biennial had more yawns than it should have. My suggestion is to have a smaller, more focused exhibit. Don’t neglect the rest of the country: there is a lot of great art being made outside of New York. No, really.

Sean Scully6. Sean Scully. This show didn't disappoint: luscious paint.

7. Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul. Although I wasn’t totally impressed, on whole this was a special exhibit and a rare chance to see a large body of his work.

8. Tara Donovan's beautiful installation of plastic cups at Pace Wildenstein.

9. Alex Katz: The Sixties. Another Pace show and some of Katz's finest paintings.

10. Cézanne to Picasso, Ambrose Vollard, Patron to the Avant-Garde, a great story recounting the career launching influences Vollard had on so many artists.

Also worth mentioning, some of the best surprises have come in the print and drawing galleries at MoMA, the best part of the newly renovated museum. This has been a great year viewing art. Here's to 2007: peace.

Honorable mentions, from Charles:

Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych (National Gallery of Art)

In the Beginning: Bibles before the Year 1000 (Arthur Sackler Gallery)

Constable's Great Landscapes (National Gallery of Art)

Le Douanier Rousseau: Jungles à Paris (Grand Palais)

Hiroshi Sugimoto (Hirshhorn Museum)

Pierre Bonnard Retrospective (Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris)

Ingres Retrospective (Louvre)


libby said...

happy holidays and thanks for the list. Both Marden and Scully images look great.

Mark Barry said...

Same to you Miss Libby! See you at the fairs.

roberta said...

Great list, Mark. Gotta get up there for the Marden show. Interestingly, neither you nor artblog gave a shout out to the Whitney Biennial, although we did list Zoe as a stalking victim. Hope to see you at the art fairs! And happy, merry holidays!