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Memorable Art Moments in 2013

Year End Reflections : 2013's memorable art moments by Barry Kostrinsky

Sketch by Leonardo

Having just seen "Leornardo da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin" at the Morgan Library and Museum, I will go with recency bias and say it is my favorite exhibit of '13. The other artist around Da Vinci don't pail in comparison. The master's composite sketch with horse legs and various objects on a page gives us a glimpse at a more comprehensible artist making choices of placement, density of line, use of negative space and a taste for the surreal combine of images that makes his work vibrant and contemporary today. The Morgan in itself is a beautiful experience.

René Magritte, "Les amants (The Lovers)" 1928, oil on canvas. 21 3/8 x 28 7/8″

MoMa is a perennial favorite for best and worst of the year. The "Magritte: Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938" exhibit is very moving and provoking still today: it does not seem dated at all. Surrealism is so hot it is cold now. also at MoMA:

Isa Genzken. Schauspieler (Actors) (detail). 2013. Mannequins, clothes, shoes, fabric, and paper, Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin.

Isa Genzken conglomerations of mess, disorder and order, animal combines,mixed with media wit, suitcase mania and neo-runway garbed walker's I'd like to see played out on stage are distrubing and thoughtful. She plays delicately with coarse objects and brings and bends a poetic sound to the hard materials. Some of the work speaks of simple and pure architectural forms while others clusterfuck one another.

Rauschenberg's "Canyon" 1959

Seeing the collecting forsight on view in MoMA's "Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador For the New" was impressive, the presight she had! "Canyon" was on display, bald eagle and all. Eagles are not fare trade and the estate was in woes over tax liabilities of an unsellable object with a high valuation. I told the lawyer a year back to have a restorer remove the bald eagle and then sell the work and gift the eagle to the purchaser (have the restorer re-attach it). He said a plan was in the works. In the end, this exhibit was part of the plan that landed MoMA the Collection.

Surprises for the Year:

One of the best surprises of 2013 was at the New Schools BFA and MFA open studios a few months ago. The energy was palpable and some of the work was great and worthy of ground floor Chelsea.

Adam Shultz's Emoticon is an interactive floor sculpture which can be powered by a bicycle or by using electricity. The DIY trend that this piece represents is in stark contrast to other slicker digital imagery in the exhibition "Systems" at RoCA curated by Lynn Stein.

RoCA- the Rockland Center for the Arts surprised me with a very cohesive and thoughtful show curated by Lynn Stein. TV, medium jumping, play, cataloguing and other venerable themes of the contemporary art world played in comprehensible fashion in this out of the way hide away for art.

Lucy Dodd at David Lewis Gallery 88 Eldridge Street

David Lewis's new gallery in the LES near chinatown is a spot to watch. His opening group show highlighted many rising stars. Lucy Dodd, whose work was strong in the group show, holds solo court till January 12.

Issues that top the list of the art worlds news are riddled with negatives and few shining stories are sung.

Detroit Institute of Art may lose much of its art. Steven Cohen and his initials are not AAA rated collectors any more on the ethics grade. Fraud at Knoeddler, a pre civil-war gallerist rocks provenance in the art world. Blockbuster sales at the top hide a weakness in breathe of the art market. Warhol's are not going for discounts. Masters and 19th century may be cheap. China's the raging bull in the art world.

Selfies is now a word. If a press of a button captures an image on a device and it is never printed is it a photograph? With all the tech advantages has the proliferation in image snatching by everyone been at the cost of forgoing the end of the process?

Art seems to be a bigger part of the larger cultural dialogue as the year passes but still appears locked in a web of a minor microcosm. The art world is very much a Selfie.

Chagall at the "Jewish Museum" offers a view of a Jewish Jesus and his bright reds and greens and blues popped from canvas to canvas. I would not say this was a top ten show to see but seeing the Art Spiegleman broad range of work on the lower floor in conjunction with a visit to this somewhat old reliquery Museum morphing into a baby MoMA made it a top ten day.

It is more about seeing the institution and the art within much as it is about seeing the gallerist and the group of artists he or she represents. These institutions, The MET, The Modern, The Guggenheim, The Frick, The Whitney, The Morgan and a few more always have on display a years top ten best show in their permanent collection.

Any day at the MET is a top ten day.

What's hot:

Forgeries, Infinity Rooms. Though a dry year weather wise, rain has been in. Red, Refletive materials. What is not there. Doing very little- like staring. Conceptualism, Carravaggio. Koons, George's as artist (Zimmerman and Bush). The expansion rate of Museum's in China. Post anything, Pussy Riot. Cross over musicians going gaga with Jzzzs'. Art that media jumps.

What's Cold: Arthur Danto

What to look forward to in the coming year....I could not get to Venice and am eager to see a piece of Sara Tse's installation coming to the Bronx Museum.

Wish for the New Year: I want a post-conceptual art that reads free of words. And some latkos.

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From This Author Barry Kostrinsky

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