1) Tino Sehgal's This Progress at the Guggenheim Museum
An exhibition that involves strolling the circular ramp of Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic New York landmark, while having serious, philosophical discussions with perfect strangers against a backdrop of pristine white walls - purposefully devoid of "art" - sounds lackluster at best, and woefully awkward at worst. And yet somehow, the experience that ensued from this seemingly tedious formula was nothing short of a magnum opus. Nine months after the charming, red-headed 10-year old questioned me in earnest, I'm still left pondering, 'What's progress?'
2) Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art
Sit silently with the artist for a duration of your choosing. It's hard to imagine that these simple instructions would lead to a never-ending queue of visitors eager to do just that, but indeed it did. Over the course of her 3-month retrospective at MoMA, the pioneering artist Marina Abramović sat for 700 hours with close to 1,400 people, myself included. The experience of locking eyes with the queen of performance art on a grand "stage" at MoMA, was unparalleled, as much for the expectations it refuted as the ones it fulfilled. But, my experience with the performance didn't end when my time in Marina's chair concluded; I followed MoMA's live web-cam daily for the remainder of the exhibition. Apparently, I wasn't alone - the feed had nearly 800,000 hits! However one experienced the performance - as a sitter, an observer, or an internet voyeur - it was an experience they won't soon forget.
3) John Baldessari: Pure Beauty at the Tate Modern, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art
After seeing the exhibition at three different venues, I can now say without hesitation that All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Baldessari. Among other valuable lessons, the 150 works in this requisite traveling retrospective reiterated for me the imperative of active viewership, the necessity of disregarding the rules, the relativity of beauty, the importance of rejecting aesthetic authorities, the merits of irreverence, and above all, always rising from the ashes.
4) Christian Marclay's The Clock at White Cube Mason's Yard
The physical task of splicing together short clips from more than 3,000 movies into a 24-hour film, though daunting in itself, is nothing to the seemingly impossible feat of weaving a metaphysical narrative, but artist Christian Marclay achieved both this year in his epic film The Clock. Marclay's film explores the robust topic of time, in all its paradoxical glory, and explodes the traditional, linear understanding of the phenomena. However many minutes - or, in my case, hours - spent watching The Clock, not a second was wasted.
More on the film HERE
5) Combustione: Alberto Burri and America at the Santa Monica Museum of Art
In a perfect world, all significant artists would be given their due - in terms of notoriety, financial success, and representation in major museum collections and exhibitions - but, sadly, many great artists never achieve the recognition their artistic contributions merit. While Alberto Burri was readily embraced in his native Italy as a seminal artist, he was deprived of proper recognition in America. That is, until now. Finally, in an intimate yet robust exhibition of 36 masterful works, Burri's genius for creating captivating abstractions through found objects and unconventional materials is laid bare. We're a little late to the game, but Burri's stunning Los Angeles "debut" should leave an impression worthy of such a formidable talent and radically change the collective consciousness of his import. Mea culpa.
6) How many billboards? Art In Stead at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture and throughout the City of Los Angeles
Los Angeles is well-known as the birthplace of the car culture, and persists in being a difficult, if not inhospitable, environment for those trying to navigate the vast city without personal transportation. A huge byproduct of our car dependency is the proliferation of billboards lining major streets and freeways throughout the city tempting us to purchase the latest and greatest luxury item, from iPods to, what else, cars. In response, the MAK Center commissioned 21 artists to create their own billboards, which were subsequently displayed throughout the city, disturbing the "harmonious" consumer-driven messaging with provocative artistic statement, encouraging deep criticality rather than credit card debt. I still miss the Martinez every time I drive down Washington Blvd...
7) Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Pilgrimages to DIA Beacon have long been a favorite past-time of mine for countless reasons, but particularly their stellar collection of works by Blinky Palermo, an artist too rarely seen in other U.S. Museums. Fortunately for myself and the other Palermo-loving Angelenos, the first comprehensive retrospective of his work is on view on Wilshire Blvd, before it begins a year-long world tour. Cloth Pictures, Wall Paintings, and Metal Pictures, oh my!
On view through January 16, 2011. More on the exhibition HERE
8) Piero Golia's Luminous Sphere on the top of the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood
It's difficult to imagine that an organization could become an integral part of a city's cultural landscape by its fifth anniversary, but LA>
On view through May 6, 2011. More information on the project HERE
9) Mike and Doug Starn's Big Bambú at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
This summer, the Starn brothers transformed the roof of the Met into a colossal nest of bamboo, which offered visitors an adventurous "climb" through its mazes, breathtaking city views, and a visual metaphor for the Big Apple itself - organized chaos, at first overwhelming and intimidating, but ultimately enchanting and inviting.
More information on the exhibition HERE
10) Hammer Projects: Julian Hoeber at the Hammer Museum
We've all encountered art that demanded much of its viewer - historical knowledge, intellectual rigor, even pathos - but Hoeber's Demon Hill imbeds its conceptual gravitas in a playful, physical challenge. Imbalance, headaches, and even a touch of nausea are all likely side-effects of a few minutes in Hoeber's discombobulating chamber, tilted to the point of near (perceived) verticality such that it "refutes" all laws of physics. But, long after the headache and the nausea have passed, the disquiet within remains and you realize Hoeber's left an indelible impact on your psyche.
On view through January 23, 2011. More information on the installation HERE