The Year in Art | The New Yorker

My thoughts on the best developments in art this year have been interrupted by my worst sadness: the death, in October, of Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker A longtime art critic. Peter’s brilliant prose was informed by his early days as a poet, and his use of language was as refined as it was witty. (Re-reading it at the end of his year in 2008, I just kept regurgitating the word “partinasis”) But, contrary to the voices of some master stylists, he was never in the limelight. He always hoped to surprise the work of art, not to confirm his previous ideas. “An artist’s job is not to make you comfortable with his ideals,” he once said. In the late seventies, when he devoted his poet’s skin entirely to criticism, he made a note to himself on the last page of the catalog and stated his principle: “I I try not to think about what I’m writing, I try. To keep myself open. My only weakness is going to the head, where the ideas spill out mercilessly. . . . I try. To keep my mind in an effort to focus, which is doubt in the intellectual sense—doubt is that you’re always missing something.”

2022 in review

New York writers reflect on the year’s highs and lows.

In our current art world, the certainty of missing something has become inevitable. A contributing fact is that scholars, collectors, and museum curators alike insist that the art fair circuit—essentially a long-distance, fast-paced shopping spree—is a vital condition for art. In 2022, galleries took their wares to fairs in Basel, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Miami, Paris and Seoul (a very incomplete list). Six landed in New York City in May, with five more in the first week of September, the official start of the new art season. The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is “goblin mode” (whatever that means), but for this fanatical pursuit of blue-chip trophies and the next big thing, I’m adapting a phrase coined by Schjeldahl, a few years Before I arrived on the scene. Its current warp speed: “Festival Slumbering.” You don’t have to pay attention to festivals to feel overwhelmed by what you won’t see. According to a study conducted by the de Blasio administration, in 2015, there are about 1400 galleries in the five boroughs, not to mention many museums. Below are a few highlights from my hyperlocal year in the trenches.

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“You Don’t Hang Up,” 2022.Artwork by Lauren Halsey / Home of David Kordansky Gallery; Photo by Alan Chen / SLH Studio

Lauren Halsey in David Kordansky

The most interesting gallery show I saw this year was the first New York solo show of this wild artist from Los Angeles, whose muse is South Central, a historically black neighborhood where his family has lived for nearly a century. Call home. Fourteen pieces on view ranged from towering columns to covered grottos, all referencing local businesses (Bread Shack, Watts Coffee House) and fallen heroes (Kobe Bryant, Nipsey Hustle), as well as Like ancient cultural touchstones. Egypt, Jet magazine, and Afrofuturism. Not for nothing did P-Funk legend George Clinton call Halsey one of his favorite artists. Next year, he’s improving his sights on the Met’s roof — a guaranteed 2023 pick.

Celia Vasquez Yui at Salon 94

A much quieter show than Halsey, but, in a sense, like a fairy tale. A member of the Shipbo people of the Peruvian Amazon, Vasquez Yue is a ceramicist who has been working in the matrilineal tradition for thousands of years. If her arrangement of magnificent zoomorphic sculptures – anacondas, armadillos, caimans, capybaras, jaguars, monkeys, parrots, river dolphins, red squirrels – is brought to mind by a traditional gathering, the image was not accidental. Shipbo believes that intricate patterns adorn each piece that they embody healing vibrations.

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The secret guards

I’m not sure if New York City’s mini-trend of unannounced exhibitions and mouthpieces is a direct response to the corporate bloat of the mainstream art world, but it really made me feel that way. Mister Fahrenheit is actually an underground gallery, located in a former underground swimming pool behind a townhouse in the West Village. It keeps public hours, but if you visit you’ll have the place to yourself, as I did this summer for Geddy Siboni’s wonderfully dramatic installation. I spent a wonderful afternoon at Club Rhubarb this fall, an invitation-only venue that I can’t show up to (but may be able to soon). Even the venerable Marian Goodman is in on the action. Last year, she held a small space filled with works by Mexican sculptor-conceptualist Gabriel Orozco. I didn’t get air until this summer. On the occasion of Orozco MOMA In a survey, in 2009, Peter Schildall considered him “easily the best artist to appear on the international biennial circuit of the period.” Make your own judgement; The show will premiere next summer.

“Introduction to Anonymous Love,” 2019.Artwork by Jonathan Berger/Courtesy of The Whitney Museum of American Art; Photo by Ron Amstows

“Whitney Biennial 2022: As Quiet as It Keeps”

Curators David Breslin and Adrian Edwards have curated the most coherent and eloquent biennial in recent memory, using a simple two-part structure. The sixth floor was largely divided into dimly lit spaces. Meanwhile, on the fifth floor of the Sun, almost all the interior walls have been removed. In less clever hands, it might have acquired something ambivalent, contradictory, perhaps the shadow side and the internal side of the epidemic against its bright spots, such as the basis of collective action. Although there was no shortage of works about personal loss or public politics, the show was happily considered—at least in its boundary-broadening, history-revising definition of what an American artist is.

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In “Matisse: The Red Studio”. MOMA

Quite simply the best museum show of the year that it was, the Jewel Box exhibit was also a once-in-a-lifetime lesson in the rewards of narrow focus. The polar opposite of an art fair? you bet. It reunited a masterpiece by the French painter from 1911—the Redding of the Venetian Pig in Matisse’s studio at Issy-les-Moulineaux—with all surviving works by the artist depicting it, an event that likely No repetition. Forget the so-called immersive shows. (Van Gogh, I’m looking at you.) With six paintings, three sculptures, and a ceramic plate installed nearby, but never overcrowded, “Red Studio” brings a familiar image to life in a surprising way. Conversely, the profitable digital sideshow is dying art.

“Ground Hill,” 1977.Artwork © Alex Katz / ARS; Photo © Museum Associates / LACMA

Alex Katz at the Guggenheim

This successful eight-decade survey has eluded me. I’ve often found this original New Yorker drawing interesting, but never profound. I may have been biased by the way Katz’s images have been widely disseminated in culture, expressed as symbols of urban segregation, whether it’s the colorful cocktail party in the opening credits of a film by Neil LaBute from 1998. Vi, or a bright-yellow double image, which became popular on Instagram as the cover of the latest Sally Rooney novel. But, as I followed the progress of this twenty-five-year-old artist on the ramp of the Guggenheim, what surprised me, even more than his mastery of light or the deceptive ease of his flat surfaces, was the painting. For there was such intense love. There is only one word for it: love.


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