An unsolicited top ten, because I want to remember how much I adored these events:
1. Sarah Michelson, Devotion (The Kitchen, NY, January): unspeakably intense, pounding, repetitive; the solos by an insect-thin, white-clad Non Griffiths are seared in my mind, as well as the obsessional finale in which Eleanor Hullinan runs and leaps over and again into the arms of a stoic Jim Fletcher.
2. Kenny Goldsmith at the White House (Washington DC, May): click here – Kenny appears about eight and a half minutes in. I can’t get enough of this.
3. The return of installation art (Venice Biennial, June): Mike Nelson, Thomas Hirschhorn, Christoph Schlingensief, and the unexpected bonus of Ed Kienholz’s Roxy’s. Large scale immersive environments by some of the best.
4. The Pilgrim, The Tourist, The Flaneur (and the Worker) (Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, June): the most adventurous experiment in museum mediation I have seen to date. I confess I enjoyed the flaneur most: gliding round the galleries listening to prog rock, pouring rain and excerpts of film, I accessed works that had never spoken to me before, and in totally unexpected ways.
5. Björk’s Biophilia (Manchester International Festival, July): watching Björk belt out Thunderbolt in a vast red wig and sparkly blue gown, accompanied by huge musical contraptions, one of which buzzed with electricity, gave me shivers. May I, can I, or have I too often? Craving miracles...
6. Christoph Büchel’s Piccadilly Community Centre (London, July). Not a perfect work of art, but a perfectly controversial talking point, and the best art/life crossover I’ve seen in years – not to mention a delightfully encrypted fuck you to Cameron’s Big Society (if not also to Hauser and Wirth).
7. Jean Genet (Nottingham Contemporary, July): once again Alex Farquharson shows us how to mix documentary, historical footage and works of art. In Part I, Marc-Camille Chaimowicz ran wild with The Maids, all wallpaper, Giacommetti, Tillmans and domestic politesse. In Part II, Prisoners of Love, an unexpected group of artists circled around Genet’s anti-colonial involvements in Palestine and the Black Panthers.
8. La Carte d'après Nature, curated by Thomas Demand (Matthew Marks, NY, Sept): Ghirri, Magritte, van Elk and many others in an exquisite group show that strolls curiously around the garden of man-made takes on nature.
9. Boris Charmatz, Musée de la Danse: Expo Zéro (Performa, NY, Nov). I have seen the cutting edge of performance and participation, and it is deft, sly, witty, durational, punchy, beautiful and moving.
10. Gatz, by ERS (McCarter Theater, Princeton, Dec): this time last year I would have said I was no fan of theatre. Then I caught ERS’s The Select in October and loved it; Gatz goes one better, becoming a meta-reflection on the mediums of literature and theatre. And to be reminded of great prose is a great way to end the year.