In 2018, across the American continent, the arts institutions asked themselves difficult questions as they worked to be – and to be perceived as – more relevant and representative. But artists and curators were not the only ones who reminded us how much art leaked in our lives. Every day, at all levels, comedians, carters, Hollywood stars, directors and podcasters had come into action.
Television, film, comedy and podcast
"Civilizations" – a nine-part story of world art on PBS – was all but perfect, but this response to Kenneth Clark's legendary BBC series in 1969 was the most ambitious attempt to tell the story of the story. ; art on a global scale. And "A Eternity & # 39; s Gate", with Willem Dafoe who plays Vincent van Gogh in a film by Julian Schnabel, leaps to the forefront of the great artists' biopic.
Meanwhile, Van Gogh, Picasso and the injustices inherent in the history of art have played crucial roles in "Nanette", the brilliant comedy for Netflix by the Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, a surprise for the summer.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z reigned briefly on the Louvre with their captivating and stunning video for "Apesh-t". The artist Arthur Jafa, meanwhile, has relied on the music of Kanye West to provide the most exciting experience of the gallery of the year, in the form of "Love is the message, the message is death ", which I saw at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
"Last Seen", a joint production of WBUR and the Boston Globe, was the best podcast of art: an in-depth investigation into 11 parts on the robbery of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and ongoing efforts to recover the Art stolen.
There were two big events in the art market – one of them no more than a stunt, in fact, but a healthy reminder, if any were needed, how absurd it became the commodification of the market. art: a work by Banksy reached a record for the artist All auction then proceeded to destroy himself after the hammer. Meanwhile, a painting by another British artist, David Hockney, became the most expensive work of a living artist when it was sold for over $ 90 million.
The two most significant museums have been the expanded Glenstone Museum outside Washington – an extraordinary place – and the revamped Houston Menil Collection.
Perhaps the strangest announcement of the year was the news that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was exchanging directors with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. When Max Hollein was chosen to take the place of Thomas Campbell at the Met, only two years after Hollein had arrived in San Francisco, no one imagined that he would be replaced there by Campbell. But voila! This is exactly what happened.
The best shows of the year? Art is vast, it's a gorgon. So let's take it (more or less) in chronological order.
The best show of ancient art was "Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the classical world" of the Getty Center, a look supported by the impact that Egypt had on the classical world. The two most resplendent shows – my jaw is still on the floor – were "The peacock and the desert: the royal arts of Jodhpur" at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and "The golden kingdoms: the arts of luxury" in the ancient Americas "at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The most important exhibition of the 19th century was the itinerant retrospective of Berthe Morisot. A great show! But then, as well as "Delacroix" at the Met and "Cézanne Portraits" and "Corot: Women" at the National Gallery of Art.
How many times does an exhibition force us to rewrite the history of art? "Hilma af Klint" at the Guggenheim and "Posing Modernity: the black model of Manet and Matisse to Today" at the Wallach Art Gallery have done just that. Fabulous, both.
For all the many solo and solo performances I have seen, I could not say that no one has stayed with me more than the survey of abstract and apolitical paintings by Charline von Heyl at Hirshhorn. In the field of photography, in the meantime, two exhibitions were distinguished: "Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings", a traveling tribute to a great artist and "The Train: RFK & # 39; s Last Journey", an intense look at the photographic responses Traumatic murder of RFK, at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco.
The most original, dazzling and macabre spectacle of the year was "Like Life: Sculpture, Color and the Body" at Met Breuer. Also novel – and considerably more festive – was "No spectators: the art of Burning Man" at the Renwick Gallery.
"I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100" at the Columbus Museum of Art was one of two great surveys of a particular period of American art. "Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art" at De Young was the other.
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Textile Museum have both introduced the public of the D.C. for the ikats of Central Asia: a visual extravagance. And what a great year it was for sculpture.
It is impossible to really choose between the fantasy architectural models of Bodys Isek Kingelez at the Museum of Modern Art and the traveling show of the hitherto unknown sculptures by Jack Whitten ("Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture 1963-2017").
But for me, the spectacle of the year was the installation of the wonderful hanging sculptures by Ruth Asawa at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis.