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Highlights 2013 - Orit Gat

Orit Gat is contributing editor for Rhizome. She writes about art for other places, too.

For me, 2013 is coming to a close with the announcement by New York Magazine that it will be scaling back print operations and the many pieces published in response to it, ranging from sentimental nostalgia for some heyday of print to a commitment to technology that almost reads as a Marinetti-like ‘print magazines, cemeteries!’ More than anything, I thought this letter from the publisher of Harper’s was brave, generous, and incredibly illuminating in its consideration of the relationship between the magazine, its readers, and advertisers: ‘Until recently, the rush to appear modern, the peer pressure to accept the inevitability of print’s demise, and the supposed virtues of writing for free have dominated what passes for a discussion.’

But it’s been a great year in publishing. Lately, I admired 4,492,040, New Document’s reprint of the catalogues of Lucy Lippard’s ‘numbers shows’, which is a great object, a way of ensuring the documentation and dissemination of a crucial piece of curatorial history, and an expansion of the discussion of Lippard’s work that started with last year’s Brooklyn Museum show ‘Materializing Six Years’. Also, Curiosity and Method, the encyclopedia of Cabinet, which was issued in celebration of the magazine’s 10th anniversary provided me with countless excuses to get sidetracked and inspired. I waited for the November–December issue of Art Papers focusing on art magazines for many months, and was not disappointed; I think it’ll become a great resource for many future discussions about the current state of art publishing. In 2013 I also considered moving to London numerous times, based partly on my enthusiasm for projects such as The White Review, publisher Occasional Papers, and the publishing platform AND, who organized ‘Working in the edges: self publishing with print-on-demand’, a course at The Showroom this year, which promotes the kind of initiatives I’d be curious to see more of in the art context.

Only slightly less obsessed with publishing, ‘Ed Ruscha Books & Co.’ at Gagosian was by far my favorite exhibition this year. As much as I’m curious to see more artists’ e-books (shout out to the series of e-books Brian Droitcour curated/edited for Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery and to The People’s E-Book, which launched its beta version very recently), flipping through the numerous examples of works following Ruscha’s brilliant use of the book format made me feel hopeful.

Other exhibitions to note from a couple of transatlantic trips: the 55th Venice Biennale of course – with Tino Sehgal, Ed Atkins, Helen Marten, the beautiful presentation of Walter de Maria right at the end of the Arsenale, and so much more. The Prada Foundation’s interesting and weird and generative recreation of* ‘When Attitudes Become Forms’* in Venice. The traveling show ‘Curiosity’, organized by Brian Dillon, with its fantastic interposition of works by Nina Canell, Gerard Byrne, and Nina Katchadourian alongside a giant stuffed walrus. And, of course, Pierre Huyghe at Centre Pompidou. In New York, I can’t leave out Mark Dion’s engrossing show at Tanya Bonakdar; Anna Plesset’s project at Untitled has been echoing with me for months; Trevor Paglen’s ambitious ‘Last Pictures’ project, which was shown at Metro Pictures; Ben Schumacher’s intriguing exhibition at Bortolami, which I’m still not sure I totally understand; Chantal Ackerman at The Kitchen; Miroslaw Balka’s haunting installation at Gladstone; and Virginia Overton’s subtle presentation at Mitchell-Innes & Nash.

The best thing about 2013? It’s that it stretches into 2014. A number of the artists whose works I was interested in this year are presenting large-scale projects in New York in 2014 – Katrin Sigurdardottir is bringing Foundation (2013), her Venice Biennale piece to Sculpture Center; Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost, whose Before Before and After After (2013) were some of the highlights of the Lyon Biennale is showing at the New Museum in February; and Ragnar Kjartansson is also scheduled to have a solo exhibition at the New Museum. I’m particularly curious about that one because I thought The Visitors (2013), shown earlier this year at Luhring Augustine, was one of the most poetic and beautiful artworks I’ve seen in a long time. I’m also looking forward to seeing – or at least hearing about – the exhibition ‘Art Post-Internet’ that Karen Archey is curating at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, as well as Anne Collier’s show at the Hessel Museum in Bard College, and Manifesta 10 at the Hermitage, St Petersburg.

Orit Gat is a writer based in London and New York whose work on contemporary art and digital culture has been published in a variety of magazines. 

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