2012: The Art Year in Review 

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2012 didn’t offer a lot for the art-inclined: the Whitney Biennial sucked; Bravo’s reality show Gallery Girls failed to find anyone in the art world both legitimate and crazy enough to produce a compelling show; and our schedules now have to make room for everyone’s favorite activity—art fairs!

Here’s a brief look at what we did last year.

The Rise of the Art Fair
Let’s be honest—the art fair has been ascendant for a while, but it seemed to reach a tipping point this year when New York hosted two sets of fairs instead of one: the fairs in March during the Armory Show, and those in May coinciding with the new Frieze fair. Will the city be able to support this many fairs in 2013? The Armory Show is smaller due to competition from Frieze, but still hosts a number of large galleries, David Zwirner and Sean Kelly among them. The answer so far seems to be “yes.”

The Fall of the White Cube
This year’s blue-chip contemporary programming at both museums and galleries was underwhelming. It’s hard to know why that might be, but some have speculated that some galleries may have begun to hold their best work for fairs and biennials, leaving less for more ambitious programming during the year. Whatever the case, given that the shows at smaller galleries on the Lower East Side and in Bushwick are still great, viewers should dedicate more time to these programs. This is where the most exciting art is being made.

The Whitney Biennial
Speaking of underwhelming programming! Man, what a bad show. There were times when I found it hard even to identify who made the artwork I was supposed to be looking at, let alone determine its place in the exhibition. That’s an organizational problem I’m worried we’ll be dealing with again in 2014, as there will be three—not two—curators this time. That’s a lot of egos.

1% Rule: The Illusion of Discussion
I love that the Internet has made it easier for people to review art images and videos endlessly, but I’m frustrated that we still spend so much time talking about what AFC’s Will Brand describes as dumb “art memes for collectors.” I’m talking about Damien Hirst’s Spot takeover at Gagosian— shows that took place at every Gagosian location in the world and had spots going for them—but also Richard Phillips's obsession with young stars, Jeff Koons's plan to hang a giant train from a crane as a public-art project, and Christo’s even worse plan to build a Mastaba out of oil drums in Abu Dhabi for $340 million. You can guess who will be building that piece, and it won’t be the wealthy.

This year at AFC, I’m going to be dedicating more time to the art I think is worth discussing, and less to the projects of the uber rich. I didn't get into this field to discuss luxury items ad nauseum and, given the amount of good art out there, there’s no reason any of us need to.

Gallery Girls is Cancelled After Only One Season
See? People don’t actually care about naive privileged kids in the arts or, by extension, their wealthy parents. If the mainstream world is smart enough to stop talking about the banal interests of the rich, we can too!


Photo Gloria Maria Cappelletti



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