Here are this year’s top five shows that I went to during 2010, judged on which I remember enjoying best or which were significant to my year, followed by five more shows I really liked. Sorry for all the good shows I missed; I’ll try to catch more next year!
1) New Icon @ LUMA
It’s hard not to fill this list with sum-up shows, where mostly familiar work is presented in a way that lends easily to declarative statements. In a way, New Icon at Loyola University’s Museum of Art is the perfect show to point at and say there, that was 2010 in Chicago. It had many of the city’s best artists and new work from each; but curator Britton Bertran went a step further and made it the first Contemporary Art Council annual show composed entirely of Chicago artists. I was encouraging to see a local show that could stay local without sacrificing quality or content at all, so it felt declarative in that sense too. Also, Dan Gunn. Review here.
2) Andy Moore @ Gallery 400
Andy Moore could easily take best art object of the year with his mega artist’s book John’s Luv, first exhibited in May at Gallery 400 and currently living at Western Exhibitions. Moore’s book is an achievement of prolonged focus and conceptual dedication, combining a marathon construction with engrossing, well-written, and seemingly endlessly edited written narrative. Review here.
3) Kim Piotrowski @ 65GRAND
Its rare that I see a straight-on painting exhibitions that makes me want to run home and paint, but that was exactly how I felt after seeing Kim Piotrowski‘s exhibition at 65GRAND. Whatever edge painting had gained on me from an exposure to too much MFA pressure-painting was instantly relieved by Piotrowski’s confident, casual, and excellent paintings. Review here.
4) Sarah Pickering @ Museum of Contemporary Photography
This might be a case of value added by over-reading, but I thought Pickering‘s documentation of domestic fires – constructed and purposely set for fire companies and forensic team practice – were a beautiful looking way of talking about curatorial transience. The settings were entirely fabricated, but done so with an insanely fine and ostensibly pointless eye for detail, with thousands of found objects brought together for thematic, doomed installations. Review @ Newcity here.
5) Production Site @ Museum of Contemporary Art
The MCA did a great job with their side of 2010’s studio obsession. Some of the room transformations that artists and the Museum’s curatorial staff made during Production Site made even later exhibitions as packed as the Calder & Friends show look under-stimulating by comparison. The work was almost universally excellent, included plenty of Chicago’s finest, and I genuinely learned a lot about the working practices of the artists featured. Good job! Info here.
And here are five more shows I really enjoyed:
Timothy Bergstrom @ Hungry Man Gallery (info)