Art in the City: Top Five Art Shows of 2005

12/21/2005 12:00 AM |

Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture
Japan Society
Curated by Takashi Murakami, this survey of Japanese image culture confirmed the global popularity of anime, manga, and super-cute kawaii culture, while asserting their connection to the trauma of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japan Society followed this stellar show with the equally riveting, but more subdued, History of History exhibition curated by Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Comic and Grotesque: Wit and Mockery in German Art 1870 – 1940
Neue Galerie
Ushering in 2005, this show of German art delved into the twisted humor of cabaret culture and satirical journals from the fin de siecle. Aside from a few early paintings and the outlandish silent films of cross-dressing Karl Valentin, the exhibit focused primarily on cheeky anti-Fascist collages and cartoons from the likes of Hannah Hoch, Lionel Feininger and George Grosz.

Janet Cardiff: Her Long Black Hair
Central Park
Hands down the best public art project of the year, this highly personal audio tour through Central Park made a familiar place mysterious and new. An old pro at audio projects, Janet Cardiff skillfully recorded the sounds of a walk and overlapped them exactly onto the viewer’s live experience. The result was a visceral sound adventure, interlaced with narrative fragments and history, which led to a zen-like level of awareness.

Mike Kelley: Day is Done
Mike Kelley made a bold re-entry into the New York art scene this November, discounting any rumors that he peaked in the 90s. The Los Angelino is more ambitious than ever in his new installation Day is Done, an enormous hodgepodge of video projections, set pieces, photographs, and alarming sculptures that turn fragments from high school musicals and Halloween parades into an all-encompassing world of horror.

David Ellis
Jessica Murray Projects
One of the many graffiti artists to gain art-world recognition this year, Ellis fuses painting with elaborate musical devices. In this solo show, his signature swirling forms connected different percussive machines, and surrounded life-size trees containing record players. The centerpiece of the cacophony — a fast-forwarded video of him doing large floor paintings, one on top of the other — was a magical record of organically growing forms.