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2012 Top Ten Art Shows

Also featuring: Gary Kachadourian’s Top Ten Art Shows

Photo: Rarah, License: N/A

Rarah

1. Open Walls


1. Open Walls (Station North) This Gaia-curated explosion of street art got so much initial attention that there has been some inevitable backlash. And while the quality of the huge variety of work is mixed, that is the point. The project brought in artists from around the world to make a permanent contribution to the city—and inspired Articulate Baltimore, a similar project in the west side. (Baynard Woods)

2. Make/Shift (Open Space) Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez showcased a brazen gift for subtle rage in this quietly disquieting solo show, which displayed the young musician/artist’s panache for taking a ready-made approach to object-making and infusing it with an astute level of socioeconomic observation. The result was a show of economic unrest with clearly identified and articulated targets. (Bret McCabe)

3. Landscape Remix (Guest Spot) This group show gathered a brilliant coterie of artists to work fertile soil in the somewhat dusty genre of landscape. Artists in the show—including locals Keith Lea, Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, and Alan Resnick—used a variety of media, including sculpture and video, to create work exploring our relation to the concept of place. (Chloe Helton-Gallagher)

4. F.E.A.S.T. (Transmodern Festival) The ninth year of Baltimore’s experimental performance festival, Transmodern, served up a number of substantial experiences, including a bizarre take on dinner theater entitled F.E.A.S.T. Video, dance, a cultic asparagus ritual, and the chance to throw cake at a man jumping rope combined for three delectable nights of agreeably uncomfortable merrymaking.(CHG)

5. Command Z: Artists Working with Phenomena and Technology (UMBC’s Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture) Command Z, an exhibition highlighting 20th century artists who played with technology, was pure magic. The sound of popping popcorn was translated into speech via Morse code; a flickering flame produced arias; and visitors experienced for themselves the disorienting feeling of walking on the moon. It was a show that reawakened our sense of wonder and possibility. (Andrea Appleton)

6. Charles Street Parking Garage Project, (Artscape) Easily the best art at Artscape, this “show” challenged viewers by tweaking their expectations. To experience the Parking Garage Project—which set out to turn the garage across the street from the Charles Theatre into a miniature national park—all one had to do was chill in the environment created and curated by Marian April Glebes, C. Ryan Patterson, and Fred Scharmen. (BW)

7. Gran Prix (Nudashank) This sprawling, exceptionally well-curated show hit the current zeitgeist head-on as it engaged with the human relation to the divide between nature and culture, the digital and the real. With highlights like Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez’s automotive Zen suite and Lisa Dillin’s “Tiger Tiles,” Gran Prix was both entertaining and profound. (BW)

8. Baltimore Liste (Contemporary Museum)

We’d love to see more shows that bring together artists from different galleries, setting them side by side in such a way that viewers can make connections between what can sometimes seem like a hermetic separation between different scenes—even in Smaltimore. The Contemporary’s (now former) director Sue Spaid made a valiant last-ditch effort to save the museum from perceived irrelevance. And when she was successful in this show, the board closed it before its third week. (BW)

9. Christopher LaVoie (sophiajacob) Christopher LaVoie’s generous sculptural gestures proposed: The best meetings yield a melting together of contradictions. Riotous, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink frames by friends supported a series of porthole-landscape-to-sunset studies; a precarious, portable wading pool optimistically filled in an ominous trap door; and the gooey wax top of the show-stopping “Wax Vat (McKeldin Square)”—a 4-by-4-foot, impeccably welded steel table as slow-cooker—seemed to offer swampy, reverberative ripples, an opaque mirror to a slapped-up map of Occupy Baltimore’s former downtown squat. (Marcus Civin)

10. Fields of Vision (Urbanite@case[werks] Gallery) This photography exhibit included everything from documentary photos to cyanotypes to images of bondage (and featured CP contributing photographers). Our favorite: two evocative portraits by Dean Alexander printed on burnished steel. A collective called (in parentheses) put it together, hoping to draw attention to an oft-ignored medium. Sadly, gallery collaborator the Urbanite is now defunct, and the collective hasn’t mounted a show since. (AA)

Gary Kachadourian’s Top Ten Art Shows

1. Eamon Espey’s Songs of the Abyss at the Windup Space

2. Jordan Kasey at Whole Gallery

3. Dustin Carlson’s Artscape installation on Mount Royal Avenue

4. Dina Kelberman and Alan Resnick’s “Our Findings” Tumblr site

5. Baltimore Liste at the Contemporary Museum

6. sophiajacob lecture series

7. New History at Guest Spot @ the Reinstitute

8. Eleanor Farley Act a Fool at Open Space

9. Primary at Nudashank

10. Command Z: Artists Working with Phenomena and Technology at UMBC’s Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture

Kachadourian is a Baker award-winning artist.


Read More 2012 Top Ten

Top Ten Most Intriguing Local Stories | Top Ten Films | Jed Dietz and Eric Allen Hatch’s Top Ten Films | Top Ten Home Video | Top Ten Albums | Top Ten Local Albums | Top Ten Releases by Genre | Top Ten Shows | Top Ten Fiction | Atomic Books’ Top Ten Bestsellers | Top Ten Non-Fiction | Top Ten Art Shows | Gary Kachadourian’s Top Ten Art Shows | Top Ten Stage | Top Ten Restaurants | Top Ten Twelve Wines


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