2011 in Review
THE 10 ART EVENTS OF 2011
AI WEIWEI He was arrested, his assistants disappeared, his wife was detained, his animal heads sold for millions, he cleverly maneuvered his persona through social media after his release, the Chinese government fined him millions, W magazine ran a strange piece by Weiwei featuring a model detained on Riker's Island, ICP exhibited his NYC photos from the 1980s to great acclaim: all added up to the year of Ai
OCCUPY WALL STREET Arte Povera, the semiotics of powerlessness, exploded all over the world, from Moscow to Boise to Oakland to Cairo
LOS ANGELES AS ART SPECTACLE Guy Debord never imagined an intersection of cheap celebrity, performance parties, wealthy collectors and publicity such as Jeffrey Deitch brought to LAMOCA
THE SALTZ-LINDEMANN TIFF Beneath charges, over-the-top insults, so-called apologies and the sleaze of Miami lies a deep unease about the role of the rich in controlling the esthetic message of the art market
PERFORMANCE James Franco, Kalup Linzy, Bill Powers, RoseLee Goldberg and a cast of thousands established a parallel simulacrum to the politics of acting out which swept the world. Question: is peformance an essential component of political change or an effete irrelevance?
DE KOONING Somehow his Museum of Modern Art retrospective made him and his concerns seem long, long ago
BARACK OBAMA The greatest war president since FDR is going to be re-elected in a landslide, so artists are gonna have to catch up to repicture the king in 2012
SHEPARD FAIREY One look at the huge Fairey-style poster of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the recent rigged Duma elections demonstrated that Faireyland is the universal domain of world pictorial discourse
FORGERY VERSUS AUTHENTICITY Fake Motherwells and Pollocks, newly discovered Leonardos and Michelangelos, a Warhol authentication board disbanded, the return of Nat Tate (at auction!), all showed that there is constant curiosity around uncertainty. . . and one to grow on
BLACK IS BACK Rashid Johnson, Mickalene Thomas, Iona Rozeal Brown and the shade of Romare Bearden made strong advances in 2011 and yet the uncertain trumpet of an Af-Am presence in the art market remains, after all these years, a minority report.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).