The Best of 2012: Exhibitions

December 31, 2012 § 2 Comments

As the year draws to a close, ‘best of’ lists seem obligatory, and I’m getting in just under the wire. So here, without much further ado, is a list of my favourite exhibitions this year, in London and elsewhere. Some of them I’ve written about here, others I didn’t have the time or space to write about but enjoyed nonetheless. Choosing ten and ranking them seemed limiting and counterproductive, so there are far more than that number, in no particular order. (NB a few of them are technically ‘best of 2011’ but they happened to still be on when I moved to London in January. And besides, this is my blog and if I can’t break a few rules here, what’s the point?)

Best exhibitions: London

Pipilotti Rist: Eyeball Massage (Hayward Gallery)

Leonardo da Vinci, Painter at the Court of Milan (National Gallery)

Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman (British Museum)

Charmed Life (Wellcome Collection)

Lucian Freud: Portraits (National Portrait Gallery)

Jeremy Deller: Joy in People (Hayward Gallery)

Picasso: The Vollard Suite (British Museum)

Wendy Ramshaw: Rooms of Dreams (Somerset House)

Another London (Tate Britain)

Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist (Queen’s Gallery)

Shakespeare: Staging the World (British Museum)

Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed (Freud Museum)

Erika Hegewisch: Out of Darkness (Christies King Street)

Cotman in Normandy (Dulwich Picture Gallery)

David Nash (Kew Gardens – a heartfelt thanks to Diana for spurring me to see this wonderful show)

Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde (Tate Britain)

Best exhibitions: Elsewhere

Akseli Gallen-Kallela, une passion finlandaise (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

Degas et le nu (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

Miniatures flamandes 1404-1482 (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris)

Debussy, la musique et les arts (Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris)

Danser sa vie (Centre Pompidou, Paris)

Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape, 1880-1910 (National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh)

William Degouve de Nuncques, maître de mystère (Musée Félicien Rops, Namur)

The Early Dürer (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)

Jeff Koons. The Sculptor (Liebieghaus, Frankfurt – this was a huge surprise to me as Koons is one of my two least-favourite artists ever (Damien Hirst being the other). I still immensely dislike Koons’s work but seeing it in the context of several centuries’ worth of historic sculpture was so unexpectedly fascinating that the show earns its place here.)

Rebecca Jewell: Birds Becoming Artefacts (Rebecca Hossack Gallery, New York)

Karl Friedrich Schinkel (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin)

A vintage year. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store!


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§ 2 Responses to The Best of 2012: Exhibitions

  • dianajhale says:

    We didn’t coincide much! Thanks for the mention, and for reminding me of some I did see too – Louise Bourgeois for one. I wish I had known about the Gallen-Kallela in Paris as I would have gone to that! However much information exists it is still easy to miss things! Best wishes for 2013, Diana

  • Thanks – best for 2013 to you too! Speaking of David Nash, I went back to Kew today and found that it had changed (lots of new material in the gallery) so definitely worth a return visit if you’ve not been back recently. And the Gallen-Kallela exhibition catalogue is worth getting hold of (can’t remember whether there was an English edition but beautiful illustrations in any case).

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