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best of 2009

Unearthed Classics and Reinvented Forms: The Best Art of 2009

In 2009, change came to the art world; batons were passed. Sculpture moved away from room-filling installations to explore the substrata of recombining strategies, appropriation, and found objects in individual works. Painting became more pliable, viable, and visual. Video explored the world as a living specimen, looking into culture, ethnography, anthropology, and sociology. Performance went beyond its own belly button to look at the belly buttons of the world. Meanwhile, mid-career older artists and underknowns made their presence felt. The Metropolitan Museum had a yearlong field day of rotating shows; the Guggenheim started to shake off the horror of twenty years under the recently retired Thomas Krens. If audiences can handle the uncertainty of not knowing what's next in art, the coming year will be rich indeed. In the meantime, let's celebrate what just passed. (Note that pictures six and seven are NSFW.)

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