The 5 Worst Exhibitions of 2011

12/21/2011 4:00 AM |

1. Rashaad Newsome’s Rap Joust at Marlborough Gallery
This performance made me feel sorry for anyone within a five mile vicinity of Chelsea. The scene: a near uniformly under-qualified panel of judges vote on the best rapper. The mics barely work and a crowd of rapper friends and icky mucky-mucks drink champagne and dance. Newsome wears a crown and conducts nothing from a stage above.

2. Cory Arcangel at the Whitney
A museum show with almost no redeeming qualities: a series of hacked video games that fail to engage the specificity of the medium, a wall painted a shade of blue that Jay-Z owns, a series of bronzed Oakley sunglasses better suited to a commercial showroom than a gallery. Arcangel has made a lot of good work throughout his career. It’s a shame the Whitney chose to show so little of it.

3. Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim
Oh man, what a gag! Cattelan totally hung all his work from the ceiling of the Guggenheim! Next.

4. Chris Marker at Peter Blum Gallery
When stupid collectors are exploited we all suffer. Marker’s show at Peter Blum’s Soho and Chelsea locations redefined the concept of resting on one’s laurels. He may be a brilliant filmmaker, but showing a bunch of bad subway snapshots and overlaying a few tangentially related paintings from textbooks isn’t any less lazy than its corollary: flunky student collages.

5. Richard Artschwager at David Nolan Gallery
Artschwager has totally lost it. His November show at David Nolan featured a series of landscape drawings in oil pastel spanning the 50s to today that resemble the kind of work you’d find at the county fair.

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