Top 10 From Visual Art in 2012

In an exceptional year for seeing art, deconstructed graphics, technosculpture, and detailed drawings stood out

<i>Rescue in Flight</i> by Randall Reid
Rescue in Flight by Randall Reid

Every show I saw this year was worth seeing – which isn't always true, depending on how much one sees and where one sees it. As a regular arts reviewer for the Chronicle, I saw a lot of exhibitions, peered into quite a few studios, and ranged across the city to do this. We could just reprint all the reviews I wrote, but that would be even farther from the "Top 10" format than this is – and even that wouldn't hide how I've yet to visit the much-buzzed-about Wardenclyffe Gallery and haven't been back to Co-Lab's powerhouse of art since Jamie Panzer's sizzling Bullshit Detector in February. And, of course, EAST is beyond any mere list. So, OK, in no order:

1) 'RANDALL REID: RESURRECTING THE PAST' (Davis Gallery) Graphic relics, deconstructed and reframed in fresh new ways.

2) 'ANN WOOD: VIOLENT DELIGHTS' (Women & Their Work) A sculptural nature documentary, by way of Tobe Hooper and Alexander McQueen.

3) 'sodalitas: core' (GrayDUCK Gallery) Sampling veins of pure beauty.

4) 'STEVE BRUDNIAK: BACK FROM SAMSARA' (Austin Community College Rio Grande Gallery) Arcane technosculpture, like art nouveau gone industrial.

5) 'TOM HUCK: HILLBILLY KAMA SUTRA' (Slugfest Gallery) The kind of handmade prints that make you want to squeal like a piggy.

6) 'RIGOBERTO A. GONZALEZ: BAROQUE ON THE BORDER' (Mexican American Cultural Center) Narcocorridos, illustrated in vast tableaux.

7) '2012: THE DRAWING ANNUAL' (Tiny Park) This is what talent draws when it's honed by skill and brains.

8) 'JENNIFER BALKAN: PEEP HOLES' (Wally Workman Gallery) Brilliant portraits in oil, stunningly presented.

9) 'WAYNE WHITE: BEAUTY IS EMBAR­RAS­SING' (Domy Books) If beauty's really embarrassing, this show's face must've been crimson.

10) TWO EXHIBITIONS AT SALVAGE VANGUARD THEATER GALLERY Sorry, conflict-of-interest fans, but even though I curated the Fusebox-enhanced "Food Porn" show by Kaci Beeler and co-curated (with Shannon McCormick) the "Presidential Losers" group show, I'll be damned if they weren't among the most fierce and delightful of the year.

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