The Artspace Team's Favorite Artworks, Shows, & Events of 2013

The Artspace Team's Favorite Artworks, Shows, & Events of 2013
Rudolf Stingel's show at Palazzo Grassi

As you might expect, the Artspace team saw a lot of art this year. Exhibitions in countless museums, a nonstop parade of gallery shows, art fairs around the world—you name it, we were there. Since we're a diverse team with widely varying backgrounds, different things hit home for different people, creating a wealth of favorite moments that spans the spectrum of taste. Here, below, are some of the offerings that resonated the most with us this year.

zona maco

"I loved Mexico City's Zona Maco art fair in April. It was a vibrant, illuminating window into the country's incredible art scene, with work by groundbreaking artists like Abraham Cruzvillegas, Gabriel Kuri, and Pedro Reyes. I'm looking forward to returning in 2014." — Catherine Levene, co-founder and CEO 


"My favorite artwork that I came across this year is this piece by Robert Longo. The figures in this series are trying to break away from the flat surface. We tended to use this artwork when prototyping new solutions for the website in 2013, and I like that the story behind the work ties beautifully to what we're doing here at Artspace." — Melanie Pitson, vice president of product & business development


"It's certainly been a busy and entertaining year in the art world. While I enjoyed my first time attending both Art Basel in Switzerland and Frieze London, and I loved the Christopher Wool retrospective at the Guggenheim, my visit to Marfa, Texas, takes the crown. It's such a magical and historically important place. Seeing all of the Donald Judd and Dan Flavin works at the Chinati Foundation, along with Judd's personal living and working quarters, was a real treat. It's definitely a mecca for all art enthusiasts, and a pilgrimage worth taking." — Adam Fields, vice president of artist and institutional development 


"Haim Steinbach's sculptures are often constructed arrangements of everyday objects that cause the viewer to examine the cultural, aesthetic, ethnographic, and psychological meaning of those objects. I enjoyed the artist's recent show at the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, which was critically well-received and built on Steinbach's growing reputation as a contemporary artist to watch. I love a piece we have on Artspace, Untitled (Female Mannequin, Right Hands)from 1991—a signature reflection of Steinbach's witty style that, offered at $5,000, is also an excellent value. Also, I couldn't help but be impressed by the $142 million world auction record achieved by Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucien Freud at Christie's. Bacon's works on paper are closely related to his paintings, the flat abstract backgrounds of his canvasses translating well to lithographic and etching processes. I particularly value the above print that we have on Artspace, executed in 1987, five years before the artist's death, is a BAT ("bon à tirer," or "good to print") impression, meaning it served as the example against which later impressions were compared." — Christopher Vroom, co-founder and chairman


"I tend to lean towards the more Instagram-worthy art events and exhibitions. My favorites this year in that category were the James Turrell survey at the Guggenheim (though this required some seriously stealth iPhotography), Evans Wadongo's "MwangaBora" light installation at Friedman Benda, and Ann Hamilton's performative fabric installation at the Park Avenue Armory. (Technically that opened in 2012, but I went in 2013, so it counts!)" — Jennifer Ruocco, senior marketing and social media manager 


"While working on the filters of the browse art page some months back, I serendipitously discovered a previously unknown (to me) artist, Margaret Inga Wiatrowski. I love the visual complexity, as well as the graphic quality of her work." – Liam Bowers, engineer 


"Although there were marvelous exhibitions in New York this year, Bill Traylor’s drawings at the American Folk Art Museum was the one that touched me the most. Traylor was born into slavery and lived well into the 20th century. Towards the end of his life he took up drawing. Seated on a bench at the sidewalks of Montgomery, Alabama, he drew what he saw and gave dignity and vitality to the urban come-and-go and the Southern characters that shaped his life, sometimes seeming to prefigure the simple, animated silhouettes of Kara Walker." — Nessia Pope, curator


"I loved Raqib Shaw's "Paradise Lost" show at Pace Gallery, where his imaginative and extraordinarily intricate works left be speechless. I also loved the Metro Pictures booth at the ADAA art fair at the Park Avenue Armory. They presented a "gallery within a gallery" with work by Louise Lawler. She creates images of famous art masterpieces, altering them by cropping and adjusting the scale in order to present them in a new way. My favorites were the three colored versions of Degas's famous sculpture The Little Fourteen–Year–Old Dancer." — Meredith Blechman, partnerships, marketing, and events manager


"My favorite show was the El Anatsui exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, where his tapestries made out of the humblest materials—bottle caps and bits of trash—reminded me of the most opulent artworks from throughout the ages, like Byzantine gold mosaics, brocades from the middle ages, and 18th-century fabrics." — Emmanuele Vinciguerra, vice president of merchandising and operations


"At Philip-Lorca diCorcia's show at David Zwirner this fall, I was really taken aback by the powerful sense of oppression and angst that I felt in some of his photos. His pictures evoke an emotion within me that I can't quite explain—sometimes sadness, sometimes apprehension, sometime empathy, but always visceral no matter what. It was the most memorable show of the year for me in that he made me rethink how I interpret the moments captured in photographs, and to ponder more about what the subject communicates to the viewer versus what he or communicates to the photographer." — Kinjil Mathur, chief marketing officer


"Spectacle is often a crutch in contemporary art, a way to distract from the lack of content, but thinking back on this year, several showy works stand out for the way they used performance to slow down my sense of time and used overabundance to make me focus. In no particular order, these included the HeardNY performances (produced by Creative Time), in which the exuberance of Nick Cave’s Sound Suits gave new dimension to the bustling humanity of Grand Central Station; the LACMA retrospective of James Turrell’s work, which, though it lacked the show-stopping rotunda installation seen in the Guggenheim’s survey of the same artist, presented room after room of haunting light environments in which one could not help but get lost; Marina Abramovic, brought to life by Robert Wilson and Willem Dafoe; and two mesmerizing film installations in Chelsea—Hiraki Sawa’s works at James Cohan and Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors at Lurhing Augustine. It was also a treat to discover so many artists new to me on my first visit to Art Dubai this past Spring—a reminder that learning from something you have never seen before is one of the gifts of contemporary art." — Eric Bryant, deputy editor, Artspace Magazine


"I thought that Rudolf Stingel's self-titled exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi during the Venice Biennale was one of the most incredible shows I've ever seen, an absolutely riveting and devastating dirge for the death of Franz West that blanketed the palazzo's interior—walls, ceilings, and floors—with rich red carpeting, transforming the building into an opulent crypt. The paintings themselves, of crumbling devotional statuary in a godless world, were terrifying. Massimiliano Gioni's "Encyclopedic Palace" exhibition was also the best, most audacious biennial show I've yet encountered, seeming to come at art with a different and deliriously more ambitious agenda than one expects from curators—an effort to probe the deepest mysteries of life, god, the mind, and art." — Andrew M. Goldstein, editor-in-chief


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