Saturday, 23 January 2010

Belated best of 2009!

Ben Street, Columnist, Letter from London
[Caveat: one of the requirements of writing an end-of-year best-of list is that you remember what you've seen right from the beginning of the year, and I'm not sure that the pieces of art I remember seeing this year are necessarily the best ones. (I can remember, for instance, Adel Abdessemed's fighting animals video at David Zwirner in New York quite clearly, although I thought it was pretty rubbish as art). The other requirement is that you demonstrate a) that you're an enormously well-traveled and cosmopolitan person by featuring art from a broad range of far-flung locations and b) that you have privileged access to the most obscure and under-the-radar art events which most ordinary mortals won't even have
heard about. So, actually, the best art show I saw this year was a video installation down a mineshaft in Azerbaijan, but in the interest of the reader, I'll try and keep it relatively mainstream. So: this is a list of (mostly) individual works of art that I've seen this year that have both stubbornly remained in my memory and are, I think, really good.]

1. Charles Ray’s sculpture, Boy with Frog, at the Punta della Dogana, Venice
2. Tacita Dean’s film,
Michael Hamburger, at Tate Britain
3. Johanna Billing’s film,
Magical World, at Camden Arts Centre
4. John McCracken’s plank pieces at Inverleith House, Edinburgh
5. Rodney Graham’s film,
Coruscating Cinnamon Granules, at Jeu de Paume, Paris
6. Eva Hesse’s
Studiowork at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh
7. Gregorio Fernandez’s sculpture,
Dead Christ, at The Sacred Made Real, the National Gallery
8. Sophie Calle’s installation,
Take Care of Yourself, at the Whitechapel Gallery
9. Fred Sandback’s string pieces in
The Russian Linesman at the Hayward Gallery
10. Canova’s model for his tomb of Titian at
Infinitum, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice

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