TABLE OF CONTENTS

TOP TEN

Christian Holstad

Christian Holstad is an artist based in New York. He is currently preparing a body of work made from melted plastic, which will be presented in 2011 at an as-yet-undetermined location in Manhattan.

  1. BERNHARD WILLHELM AND JUTTA KRAUS (GRONINGER MUSEUM, THE NETHERLANDS)

    A ten-year retrospective of these incredibly gifted seers and makers, in which the duo staged some of the most cheerfully perplexing yet oddly pedestrian hybrid sculpture in recent memory—for example, the Grecian-style body (inspired by French gay-porn actor François Sagat) in lamé and mesh athletic gear penetrating the tailpipe of an old wreck. What’s more, the trappings of their sculptures are fully wearable.

    *Bernhard Willhelm and Jutta Kraus, two looks from the spring/summer 2010 collection.*		Bernhard Willhelm and Jutta Kraus, two looks from the spring/summer 2010 collection.
  2. “KANTHA: THE EMBROIDERED QUILTS OF BENGAL” (PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART)

    Phyllolike layers of worn-out saris bound together by embroidery: Imagine a Bridget Riley painting as a soft, white, puckering canvas, except that here the mind-bending designs are delineated by a pattern stitched with the threads of old garments. Brian Eno’s line “the subtleties a spectrograph would miss” comes to mind. When my friend and I visited this show, we were so overstimulated after thirty minutes that we had to leave.

    *Kantha embroidered quilt (corner detail), ca. 1850–1900, Bangladesh or India, (Bengal) Faridpur District,* cotton fabric, cotton thread, 28 3/4 x 28 1/2". Kantha embroidered quilt (corner detail), ca. 1850–1900, Bangladesh or India, (Bengal) Faridpur District, cotton fabric, cotton thread, 28 3/4 x 28 1/2".
  3. LA LOCANDA DEL BARBABLÙ (STROMBOLI, ITALY)

    At first glance, La Locanda del Barbablù may seem no different from any of Stromboli’s other charming restaurant-bar-inns. But once there, I was reminded that simple beauty comes foremost in the form of a well-kept home. Behave yourself and you will see what a lifetime of dedication to your craft and person can offer. Here Neva (the chef) and her partner/husband, Andrea (the bartender and face of the house), blur the divisions between living space, dining room, school for the wayward, and museum with a swizzle of the cocktail stick, a pounding of the cleaver, and a channeling of the volcanic intensity of the island’s obsidian mass.

  4. WWW.ANAMBITIOUSPROJECTCOLLAPSING.COM

    Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I’ll go to this page to put off checking e-mail. Seeing the nth posting about denim, at first I’ll think, “Oh great . . . more jeans,” but then—noticing the care of the stitching, the particular wear of each belt loop, the choice of grommets—I’m reminded that the devil/God is in the details. Like the greatest alarm clock in the world, this site of curated objects and ephemera turns my brain on.

  5. DANNY KRIVIT’S 718 SESSIONS (SANTOS PARTY HOUSE, NEW YORK)

    This year, more than any other in my life, I needed to dance. So I was thankful for 718 Sessions, the party that legendary New York DJ Danny Krivit started in 2002. A dance floor full of survivors—be it of drugs, AIDS, Giuliani’s whitewashing, or the beige revolution. The antidote to these forces can be summed up by my favorite Santos mantra: All Ways Welcome.

  6. 0TH, BLOW UP UNIVERSE (LIVE WITH ANIMALS, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK; SOUTHERN EXPOSURE, SAN FRANCISCO)

    0th is an art/music/performance collective of four females based in four cities. Live with Animals is an artist-run space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was the gallery I frequented the most this year and where I saw many great shows—both visual and aural—by artists, musicians, and performers including Micki Pellerano, Raul de Nieves, Alice Cohen, and others. When 0th performed this summer, technicaldifficulties caused the show to be moved to a nearby rooftop at the last minute. The endeavor seemed bound to fail but turned out to be absolutely sublime: a dance in which the 0th women (one in NY, one in SF, and the others who-knows-where) video-Skyped from their outposts using live-feed projection, producing what was, in all sincerity, an incredible piece of choreography.

    *0th, _Blow Up Universe_, 2010.* Performance view, rooftop, Brooklyn, NY, 2010. Amanda Warner, Jacqueline Gordon. Photo: Katherine Pickard. 0th, Blow Up Universe, 2010. Performance view, rooftop, Brooklyn, NY, 2010. Amanda Warner, Jacqueline Gordon. Photo: Katherine Pickard.
  7. “THE RED BOOK OF C. G. JUNG” (RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK)

    Shown in public for the first time this past winter by the Rubin, this holy grail of art and psychology was simultaneously published to scale by W. W. Norton and the Philemon Foundation—its translation, essay, notes, and images certain to deliver a lifetime of pleasure-filled study. Thanks to those who have helped this once-thought-mythic tome to surface at last. It’s an awesome feat.

    *Two pages from Carl Jung’s _Red Book_, 1914–30.* Two pages from Carl Jung’s Red Book, 1914–30.
  8. JON DAVIES AND SHOLEM KRISHTALKA, THE GAYS OF TOMORROW (RYEBERG LIVE TORONTO)

    In June, this painter/writer–curator/writer couple took the audience on a journey through the most awkwardly exuberant moments of their own gay—or “proto-gay”—childhoods as they screened and spoke about their favorite Web videos featuring “the gays of tomorrow”: primarily little boys caught on video dancing to beloved pop songs. When questioned by a ruffled audience member as to why they insisted on framing the then twelve-year-old YouTube sensation Greyson Chance (famed for his acoustic cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”) as gay, Davies delivered an impassioned argument in favor of homosexuality becoming the new “default” when considering the sexual identities of children in the decade to come.

    Greyson Chance singing “Paparazzi”

  9. CURRENT 93 IN 2010

    UK-based Current 93 were started in 1982 by David Michael Bunting (aka David Tibet). Ever since hearing their early studies in collaboration with groups such as Death in June, 23 Skidoo, Nurse with Wound, and Psychic TV, I have been excited to see what this band will do next. But when I received their complete listing of works slated for 2010, I was seriously impressed. I don’t know of many music elders who have put out so many great albums in a decade, let alone a twelve-month solar cycle. Heeding heavenly warnings over a twenty-seven-year expanse of ever-altering forms, Current 93’s inner/outervisions continue to give me hope.

  10. CAM ARCHER, SHIT YEAR (2010)

    The difficult story of an actress (portrayed with crystalline clarity by Ellen Barkin) who begrudgingly leaves her once-successful career in the city only to find herself living in a cabin, depressed, terrified of nature, and revisiting roles from her old life as she wades through a relentlessly shitty year. The movie was shot on film, mostly in black-and-white, and it made me think of Bruce Weber’s Obsession ads of bygone years, only more disturbing—as though filmed to reveal the thought/feeling abyss of a model binging and ejecting matter the morning before a shoot. I’m grateful to Archer for offering a conversation driven by such truth and sensitivity. It’s a harsh film, but incredibly beautiful.

    *Cam Archer, _Shit Year_, 2010,* still from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 95 minutes. Harvey (Luke Grimes), and Colleen West (Ellen Barkin). Cam Archer, Shit Year, 2010, still from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 95 minutes. Harvey (Luke Grimes), and Colleen West (Ellen Barkin).