The 5 Best Exhibitions of 2013 in NYC... and Beyond! 


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Thomas Hirschhorn
Gramsci Monument, the Bronx

Forget the statues—the sprawling tree fort made of duct tape and particle board in NYCHA's Forest Houses complex actively involved residents in daily lectures, radio broadcasts and a tuck shop, improving the quality of life for everyone who participated. It was incredible, and best of all, it got people from all parts of New York talking. The best public work this year, easily.


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Llyn Foulkes
The New Museum, Lower East Side

Foulkes would be an outsider artist if he weren’t so skilled. His paintings, particularly the later ones, are obsessed with the evils of Disney. It’s a simple message but good god is Foulkes ever a master of materials! He literally carves depth out of his figurative paintings, which typically incorporate real-world elements. These paintings are so detailed and strange that they’re hard to look away from.


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Lisa Dillin, Stopgap
Gallery Four, Baltimore

New York artists should visit Baltimore regularly, as this show made plain. Its theme was basically nature meets trompe l’oeil Photoshop: think fake ferns growing out of piled formica cubes; a tanning booth; a mini fridge made out of a boulder; and a watering hole with astroturf platforms around a communal drinking fountain. The whole show looked great, but my favorite part was the little Flintstone outfits you were invited to put on before heading to the tanning booth. It’s just so fun—and of course, the spray tan is the fakest shit ever. It’s the perfect look for your next dinner party (which, naturally, should be at Flux).


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Iron Chef
Flux Factory, Long Island City

If events like Flux Factory’s Iron Chef contest were ubiquitous, I’d never pen another negative review. One wild night in late February, residents Georgia Muenster, Aliya Bonar, Theodoros Zafeiropoulos, Stephanie Avery, and Nick Cregor threw hundreds of raisins together to create a series of raisin-based dishes. Each artist vied for the trophy—a yellow sponge with glasses, a fake nose, and a whisk for hair—which Bonar eventually nabbed. In the process of putting her dish together, she was forced to crush her almonds with a teapot. The judges, of which I was one, decided that demonstrated a creative ingenuity that we loved.  


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Jeila Gueramian, Let’s Go Further
Allegra LaViola, Lower East Side

The closing show at this gallery, now Sargent’s Daughters, sure was a doozy. Totally crazy knitted animals, stuffed wall hangings and LED lights combined to create the world’s most frantic and beloved play-fort.


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