PRINT December 1999

Peter Plagens

The big bosses at Artforum asked for an annotated list of the ten best art thingies of the ’90s, and that’s exactly what they’re gonna get. No Greil Marcus/Ron Rosenbaum–style envelope-pushing to slip in a remaindered CD by Animal Logic or the best chopped liver on the Upper West Side. Oh all right, a little fudging here and there to wedge in a few extra items, but otherwise, straight down the pike.

1. “Johannes Vermeer” (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Royal Cabinet of Paintings Maritshuis, The Hague, 1995–96) The sweetest words my editors at Newsweek ever said to me were, “You know, after all that pandemonium over the Vermeer show in Washington, it’d be good to have a story on how the Dutch feel about it when it comes back to Holland.” So I got to see the show a second time, in The Hague. Yes, as I wrote at the time, there were a couple of (comparative) dogs in the show; but just seeing The Lacemaker, ca. 1669–70, and View of Delft, ca. 1660–61, in the same exhibition was a millennial experience.

2. Eddie Izzard
Yep, I’m violating my most deeply held principle: Up with art-object art, and . . . fuck showbiz! But the thirty-seven-year-old English comic is a genius, if not an outright god. I’ve seen the video of his “Dressed to Kill” concert eight times, and my rapture at

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