Best of “Best of 2013″

By John Shelling

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The days are getting longer,  seasonal runners are back on “resolution hill” near my house trying to burn 11 months of gluttony away and every single arts publication known to the human race has published their “Best of 2013″ list.  In our annual roundup we considered 21 different articles. The following is the top 5 in descending order:

5.  Claudia La Rocco’s No. 1 choice in Art Forum’s annual roundup is Jon Kinzel’s Someone Once Called Me a Sound Man even though she didn’t see the performance:
Jon Kinzel’s Someone Once Called Me a Sound Man, which happened at the Chocolate Factory Theater earlier this month and, according to everything everyone smart said, was one of the best things to have hit a New York stage in ages. Didn’t see it, dunno, can’t comment, etc. And yet. Yes. Let’s put it on the list. That’s number 1.”

Here is the performance:

Someone Once Called Me A Sound Man edited sequence-VIMEO COMPRESSION from the chocolate factory theater on Vimeo.

4. Rhonda Lieberman’s choice for ArtForum of Banksy, Sirens of the Lamb:
“Playfully shedding light on a disturbing element of the food chain deliberately shielded from public view, Banksy’s dark humor is as moving as Morrissey’s vegan rant against “Thankskilling,” and perhaps more effective.”

3. Britt Gallpen’s choice of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Lost the Memory Palace” at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto:
“… perhaps more than the stage-set-like constructions, it was the bare simplicity of their newest work Experiment in F# Minor (2013), a tabletop covered in upturned speakers, that was most captivating. Visitor shadows trigger individual speakers, resulting in a unique composition that is never the same twice. It’s striking when taken as an analogy for memory itself—it, too, being an echo of an event that continually fuses with neighbouring moments and can never be exactly reproduced.”

2. Blouin Art Info had a different approach to the Best of list. They published three lists: Best Critic Quotes, Best Conflicts and Best Artist Quotes. Our No. 2 entry comes from their Best Artist Quotes list. Kelly Mark is in her usual fine form with these quotes from her February interview with Sky Goodden:

Describe a typical day in your life as an artist.
(Currently): Wake up, feed cats, make coffee, play online poker for an hour or so, make 2nd cup of coffee, punch in, draw for 3 or 4 hours, make lunch & more coffee, back to drawing for another 5 hours, punch out, check emails, feed cats again, make dinner, watch tv or play XBox for a couple of hours. Punch back in and either draw some more or do other shit. Punch out and go to bed. Next day repeat as same …

What is the Canadian art world lacking?
More collectors with the nuts to buy Canadian.

What’s your favorite place to see art?
In an artist’s studio when it’s like half done and right on the edge.

Do you collect anything?
Debt, bad habits & tattoos.

1. Terrence Dick’s text for his choice of 8 Days No Contact at Narwahl Projects written for AKIMBO:
“There were moments (many moments) this year when it felt like the city of Toronto had become a gigantic reality TV show. It’s become a commonplace to admit that whatever our mayor is up to now, there’s worse to come. From denials of videos to confessions of crack smoking to painful post-pussy-blurting press conferences with wife in tow, Rob Ford is a performance of shamelessness without end. As the late night hosts say: he’s the gift that keeps giving. While Gawker’s ethically problematic Indiegogo fundraising campaign got underway, I happened upon a smaller overlap of life and art at Narwhal Projects’ 8 Days No Contact. Inspired by the break-up diary of a hurting dude who likes to make lists, an assortment of artists put his pain into action. Now if only something as creative can come of our municipal plight.”


8daysnocontact Best of Best of 2013



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