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Best of 2008: Catharina Manchanda, Senior Curator

Wed, Dec 31, 2008
Here are a few shows that stood out to me this year:

1. Black Is, Black Ain't, at the Renaissance Society in Chicago. This was a timely and provocative reflection on the rhetoric of race as much as racial identity that took place well before the November election. If you missed this show you can find images on the website as well as Hamza Walker's thought-provoking essay.

2. All-Inclusive: A Tourist World at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.
This group show proposed a new view of the world through the eye of the tourist. It included works about personal desire, fantasies about exotic cultures, and installations focused on airport security and the constant threat of potential violence and disaster. Compelling was also the decision to include works about migration, which is a pressing topic in Europe. My favorite aside was an open janitor's closet near the restrooms, which contained not only cleaning supplies but a panorama of postcards of exotic destinations. Although the staff assured me, it was not part of the show (“No, it's definitely not Fischli and Weiss”) I thought it was the icing on the cake.

3. The Louise Bourgeois retrospective at the S.R.Guggenheim Museum in New York this fall was a stunning reminder of the artist's profound output and influence.

4. Martin Kippenberger at MoCA, Los Angeles was another terrific show. It helps to have a certain appreciation of irreverent German humor and a few insights into post-war German art to fully appreciate which sacred cows are being slaughtered, but even a cursory glance is revealing. The exhibition will travel and I highly recommend it.

5. Still on my list of shows to see is the group show Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes, at the nearby Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. The focus is on art and architecture. One of my favorite features in the catalogue is a “Lexicon of Suburban Neologisms” where you can look up intriguing terms such as boomburb, Grage Mahal, LULU, and NIMBY, as well as a new definition of pork chop. The exhibition is on view until January 19th.

6. Last not least, if you have not seen Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms you should hurry to the Wexner Center to see it!

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