Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seven Art Trends of 2012

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Photo from Andra Ursatas Magical Terrorism at Ramiken Crucible. Gallery window destroyed by tank.
  • Photo from Andra Ursata's "Magical Terrorism" at Ramiken Crucible. Gallery window destroyed by tank.

If you were a regular gallery-goer this year, chances are 2012 is now a blur of neon paintings, images on beer cozies, galleries that look like they’ve been blown up, and a fuckload of John Cage. Forecast for 2013? Philip Guston turns 100 next year, so paintings of boots.

And now, a look back at the highlights:

John Cage. (Photo courtesy of
  • John Cage. (Photo courtesy of

1. John Cage

On the year of the hundredth anniversary of his birth, Cage’s influence is not to be underestimated. We were reminded through tribute shows and performances, month after month. After month.

Trending: Cage Transmitted at Norte Maar all year, Cecilia Tripp: Music for (prepared) bicycles (after John Cage & Marcel Duchamp), Notations: The Cage Effect Today at Hunter College’s Times Square Gallery, Beyond Cage Festival by the S.E.M. Ensemble, and much, much more

Painting by Tatiana Berg (Photo courtesy of
  • Painting by Tatiana Berg (Photo courtesy of

2. Dirty Windows

A hot breath on a windowpane. A rainbow on a grease puddle. Such moments can be captured in paint with a squeegee, a thin spray, or painting wet-in-wet. It’s not actually called “dirty windows,” but toomer labzda’s latest show title hits the nail on the head: it looks like you accidentally wiped the windshield with a bucket of rainbow oil, and it turned out pretty well.

Trending: Dirty Windows at Toomer Labzda, Surfaces, Supports at Storefront Bushwick, Sam Moyer: Slack Tide at Rachel Uffner, Gabriel Hartley at Foxy Production, Four Paintings at Regina Rex, Tamara Gonzales at Norte Maar, Tony Matelli’s Windows, Walls, and Mirrors at Leo Keonig

Stacy Fisher, Odd n Ends. (Photo courtesy of Regina Rex)
  • Stacy Fisher, "Odd n' Ends." (Photo courtesy of Regina Rex)

3. Claymation and detritus

This year abounded with bodily sculpture and painting reminiscent of Gumby. This goes for everything from squeezing the paint directly from the tube to doughy and funky sculpture to primitive-looking cartoon heads. Yarnbombing. And plaster. Lots of plaster.

Trending: Aggro Crag at BOSI contemporary, Hot Tub Time Machine at Canada, David Gilbert at Klaus von Nichtssagend and Andrea Rosen, Tatiana Berg and Evan Nesbit's Surfaces, Supports at Storefront Bushwick, Stacy Fisher at Regina Rex, and (a little bit) The Mystery Trend at Wallspace

Nillem Yellahs internet cookies at Higher Pictures
  • Nillem Yellah's internet cookies at Higher Pictures

4. Image search

Yes, Photoshop and Google have forever changed the way we collect and think about images. As for what this means for art? More shows about archiving, more collage, rawer images, and images on everything.

Trending: Collect the WWWorld at 319 Scholes, Image Object at Foxy Production, Brand Innovations for Ubiquitous Authorship at Higher Pictures

From Bjarne Melgaards IDEAL POLE at Ramiken Crucible. (Photo courtesy of Ramiken Crucible)
  • From Bjarne Melgaard's "IDEAL POLE" at Ramiken Crucible. (Photo courtesy of Ramiken Crucible)

5. Giant animal heads and live tigers

It only happened a few times, but each, a greater WTF than the last.

Trending: Walton Ford's King Kong at Paul Kasmin (technically in 2011, but less than a year ago), Robert Longo's tigers at Metro Pictures, Bjarne Melgaard's live tigers at Ramiken Crucible

The Berlin Biennial, Occupied. (Photo by Marcin Kalinski)
  • The Berlin Biennial, Occupied. (Photo by Marcin Kalinski)

6. All-in shows

After Occupy Wall Street and Sotheby’s art handler lock-out, we saw a wave of shows themed around staff member work, open calls, and free distribution.

Trending: Hennessy Youngman at Family Business, Occupy Museums at the Berlin Biennial, Occupy Your BFF at Momenta Art, HiJack! at Jack Shainman, People Who Work Here at David Zwirner, ...Is This Free? at NurtureArt, Brucennial 2012

Thomas Hirschhorns Concordia, Concordia at Gladstone Gallery (Photo courtesy of Gladstone Gallery)
  • Thomas Hirschhorn's "Concordia, Concordia" at Gladstone Gallery (Photo courtesy of Gladstone Gallery)

7. The Apocalypse

At least a few galleries had the good sense and foresight to book apocalyptic shows leading up to the Mayan end-of-the-world date. This was made more depressing by the fact that a few are taking place amidst galleries that have yet to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Trending: Diana Thater’s Chernobyl at David Zwirner, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy’s Twenty One Twelve at Postmasters, Nolan Hendrickson, JP Munro, and Eddie Martinez at Zach Feuer, Thomas Hirschhorn’s Concordia, Concordia at Gladstone Gallery, Matthew Lusk: More Broken Glass Than There Was Window at ZieherSmith, and (for the broken storefront window) Andra Ursata’s Magical Terrorism at Ramiken Crucible

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