There’s nothing like a good list to end the year. Here’s my top ten for 2010 – not just exhibitions or artists but also a few ‘things that happened that were pretty great’ in no particular order. Obviously it’s not exhaustive, but in the interests of not exhausting you, dear reader, we’ll keep it to the ten.
- Something In The Air: Collage & Assemblage in Canberra Region Art at Canberra Museum and Gallery. Everyone seems to agree – this was the exhibition no one saw coming that completely blew us all away, workng wonders for the self-esteem of the Canberra art scene. A meeting of incredible local artists the likes of which may never be seen again, including a nod to many departed greats. I never managed to review the show in detail but my more dedicated Canberra comrade Iconophilia did.
- Tj Phillipson There Is Fire Down Below at CCAS Manuka. Phillipson really hit the ground running in 2010, and went on to be one of the year’s standout artists (he picked up a Canberra Critics Circle award just the other week). There Is Fire Down Below was a corker – you may recall me gushing about it earlier on. Now Phillipson is moving onwards, upwards and over to the UK. Sigh.
- A new home for M16 Artspace. We may miss the shed a little, but the new premises of M16‘s gallery and studios is more spectacular that anyone could have wished for. The M16 board and then-Director Joseph Falsone deserve some kind of medal for carrying it all off. Let’s hope the organisation can now secure the right staff to carry it into a new era.
- Autumnal Collective – Exciting A Blush. Although I still can’t define precisely what this was I still can’t stop thinking about it. An incredible performative art form mash-up from a powerhouse new performance collective – reviewed for BMA HERE
- Musk at (the old) M16 Artspace. My favourite group exhibition of the year, featuring Tj Phillipson, Ben Forster and Robbie Karmel asking the hard questions of what it means to be a man. And playing with inflatable pool toys.
- The National Gallery of Australia facelift. I’m ashamed to say that when I went to the launch of the NGA’s new entry and galleries I was surprised by how great it looked. Is that wrong? Anyway it looks incredible, you can finally get into the place without having to storm the castle walls and the new gallery spaces have shifted the focus of the collection for the better. The Turell sculpture is also a winner, and seems to be one of Canberra’s new favourite make-out spots.
- Hijacked 2: Germany and Australia at the ANU School of Art Gallery. Less hijack and more stealthy ambush, Hijacked descended upon the School of Art Gallery with little fanfare but turned out to be a jaw-dropping collection of contemporary photographers, including Canberra’s own burgeoning art star Lee Grant. I pity those who missed out, but don’t say I didn’t try to tell you.
- This Way Up symposium and exhibitions at ANU School of Art, M16 Artspace and ANCA. A love-in celebrating the phenomena that is the strong tradition of abstraction in the School of Art painting workshop. Two days of mind-melting discussion and three huge exhibitions of paintings reuniting the best of the best.
- Chloe Bussenchutt When The Fleeting Collide at CCAS Gorman House. I’ve called her a show-stopper before, but the work Bussenchutt presented for her solo exhibition at CCAS took things to a whole other level. Deer antlers, glass and luscious video were brought together to create a space as dark as it was serene. One of the most unique minds in Canberra and an artist the world deserves to see a whole lot more of.
- Jessica Herrington CAVE at CCAS Manuka. One of my more recently raved about exhibitions, CAVE saw Herrington really hit her stride. A great example of what can happen when art and science collide.
Any other list lovers out there who care to share their best of the year?