2009 Top Ten list for painters

Simply put, here are ten eleven exhibitions (and two innovations) from 2009 that I won’t forget.

Ten Exhibitions:

Cordy Ryman at DCKT

Above: Pablo Picasso, “Personnage,” 1971, oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 inches”

Alice Neel at David Zwirner
 Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone at the New Museum

Vik Muniz  Rebus, an Artists’ Choice installation culled from the collection at MoMA. Video: Fischli and Weiss, “The Way Things Go,” 1988. Another artist-curated exhibition worth mentioning is Robert Gober’s Heat Waves in the Swamp: Charles Burchfield at the UCLA Hammer Museum. Also Oranges and Sardines at the Hammer Museum.

Pierre Bonnard: The Late Interiors at the Met

Richard Tuttle: Walking on Air at PaceWildenstein

Nicole Eisenman at Leo Koenig

UPDATE (January 4, 2010):
I can’t stop thinking about the James Ensor show at MoMA, so let’s make it a “Top Eleven” instead of ten. 

Two Innovations:

The Artworld on Facebook: I’ll remember 2009 as the year everyone joined Facebook. Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote in the March 2009 issue of The Brooklyn Rail.

What�s so good about Facebook? Most art bloggers will tell you it�s a good way to connect with the people who read their blogs. They were at the forefront of innovative social networking in the artosphere, and began setting up their Facebook profile pages back in early 2007, shortly after Facebook lifted the requirement that members be affiliated with an educational institution. Links posted on blogs announced Facebook membership, and a few readers began joining, but initial interest was halting and tentative. Skeptical friends either ignored email invitations to join, or joined but discreetly eschewed their newly created profile pages. The digitally unconnected didn�t feel any need for a �social networking� site at that point, and thought Facebook was for lonely computer geeks, singles looking for love, and college kids. But then, on November 1, 2008 at precisely 9:53 pm, a seismic shift occurred. New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, whose account had been set up by one of his students, joined Facebook. By January 2009, it seemed as though the entire art world had jumped on his bandwagon.

Smartphones and microblogging: OK, maybe these aren’t new, but in 2009 they changed the way I record my ideas and working process. In June I got an iPhone, and by July I had created a new photographic-sketchbook blog on Tumblr (@ Bushwick & Main) to document my art practice at home and on the road. I particularly love the iPhone Brushes app, which seemed gimmicky at first, but it’s a terrific tool for making color studies.  

For 2010, my resolution is to outfit my poorly-lit attic rooms with better light so I can paint late into the night. Happy New Year!


  1. great list! fatnastic blog too.

  2. Very good list – I agree with most – had problems with Mary Heilman show….which I surprisingly thought was over-rated. Expected to like it a lot more.

  3. Hey I am an indian artist and i liked your blog..Nice paintings..I liked the school kid the most.

  4. I have to admit, I hated that Tuttle show.

  5. yes yes alice and ensor…nice list!

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