Year in review: best art shows in 2012


2012 flew by. It feels like only yesterday I was ringing in the New Year in Barcelona, Spain. Sigh. What fond memories. It was a great year, I saw a lot of interesting art shows all over the map both literally and figuratively.

1. Ryoji Ikeda (June 14 to November 18, 2012) at DHC /ART in Montreal, Quebec. Japanese sound artist Royji Ikeda’s music is concerned with sound in a variety of ‘raw’ states, such as, sine tones and noise. Often, Ikeda uses frequencies that are on the edge of the human hearing range. This show offered a taste of something new not only for your eye but your ears too.

2. The Clock (2010) by Christian Marclay  (September 14 – November 25, 2012) at the Power Plant in Toronto, Ontario. This masterpiece is an ode to time and cinema, and is comprised of thousands of fragments from a vast range of films to create a 24-hour, looped, single-channel video. To create this mega masterpiece, Marclay compiled thousands of film clips of wristwatches, clock towers, sundials, alarm clocks, and countdowns, each of which illustrate virtually every minute in a 24-hour period.

3. Antoni Muntadas, Entre / Between (November 23, 2011 – March 26, 2012) at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain. Muntadas is considered on the pioneers of media art and conceptual art in Spain. Much of Muntadas’ work is an inquiry into the nature of art institutions and their ecosystems of production-reception and the changing relations between public and private. We also saw another interesting exhibition of his artwork at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona MACBA.

4. Zimoun at Oboro Gallery (April 18  – June 13, 2012) in conjunction with the International Digital Arts Biennial in Montreal, Quebec. Rising Swiss art star Zimoun site-specific installation Prepared DC-Motors on Cardboard at Oboro gallery consisted of a grid of cardboard boxes spanning the circumference of the gallery.  Each row of precariously balanced cardboard boxes work to form an architectural space containing a rumbling din produced by mechanical motors humming in unison.

Picture 1721

5. Ghada Amer (February 2  – April 22, 2012) at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in Montreal, Quebec. The exhibition chronicles mostly recent works by Egyptian born artist Ghada Amer and was curated by Thérèse St-Gelais. Amer is well known for her erotic embroideries depicting explicit sexual acts with the delicacy of needle and thread.


6. Game Plan by Alighiero Boetti, (October 5  – February 5, 2012) at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain. This exhibition was a Blockbuster for artworld insiders, who regard Boetti as one the most influential artists of the 20th Century. Game Plan included his most famous series of embroidered maps of the world, Mappa, created between 1971 and his death in 1994. This exhibition visited the Tate, the LACMA and the MOMA this summer.

7. Chronicles of a Disappearance (January 19 — May 13, 2012) at DHC Art in Montreal, Quebec.  Curated by John Zeppetelli the exhibit featured works by five acclaimed international artists Taryn Simon, Omer Fast, Philippe Parreno, Teresa Margolles, and José Toirac.


8. Zoo (May 24  – September 3, 2012) at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in Montreal, Quebec.  The show featured an interesting array of international artists from Ai Weiwei, Shary Boyle to David Altmejd. Zoo explored a variety of connections that exist between humans and animals, and speaks about the issue from within a very broad perspective. And, in keeping with the theme of the show, I saw a wide variety of both living and dead animals inside the exhibition.



© Juan Madrigal


9. ORLAN, Arte carnal (June 7 – August 12, 2012) at Museo de Antioquia de Medellín in Medellin, Colombia. Ok, it’s really hard to say ORLAN’s exhibition was one the best art shows, perhaps it more appropriate to say hauntingly memorable. ORLAN spoke at a symposium on the opening night, it was very interesting to hear her speak about her physical transformation into one the most bizarre and outrageous artists working today.

10. IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958-2011 (March 3 – August 12, 2012) at the Art Gallery of Ontario. This retrospective spans Canadian artist IAIN BAXTER&’s 50 year career radically redefining the role of the artist by integrating photography, installation, sculpture, painting, drawing and performative aspects into his work. And, no the ampersand sign in his last name isn’t a mistake, he legally changed his name to include it.

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