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Top 10 Visual Arts of 2012

The emergence and re-emergence of arts spaces, events, venues, and museums dominated the year in Austin art

By Andy Campbell, Fri., Jan. 4, 2013

<i>Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (08)</i> by Paul Pfeiffer, 2005
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (08) by Paul Pfeiffer, 2005

1) THE RE-EMERGENCE OF MASS GALLERY Expect. Epic.

2) AMOA-ARTHOUSE How does an institution come out of a censorship-addled spate of firings, resignations, and a merger? We're still unsure, but recent/current exhibitions (Jill Magid, Nick Cave, Andy Coolquitt, Michael Menchaca) are shining beacons.

3) 'THE RULES OF BASKETBALL' (Blanton Museum of Art) Curated by Regine Basha, this exhibit had diminutive video and expansive photo works by Paul Pfieffer alongside James Naismith's original rules of the game.

4) EAST & WEST With a West Austin Studio Tour added to complement the long-successful one in East Austin, we now have two anchor, multisite arts events per year. Next year adds the next iteration of the Texas Biennial to Big Medium's heady brew.

5) CO-LAB No one – and I mean no one – rotates shows and supports an emergent local art scene like Sean Gaulager.

6) 'CRUZ ORTIZ: HECHO FARM' (UT Visual Art Center) In this show curated by Kate Green, Ortiz, a high school teacher in San Antonio, took up space in the VAC with aplomb, filling it with paintings, print/work parties, and a pirate radio station.

7) MEXIC-ARTE MUSEUM'S PROPOSED NEW BUILDING BY FERNANDO ROMERO Museum as Mayan calendar – it's Robert Venturi's "duck" taken on a Mexican vacay. Good or bad, it struck a chord and ignited online debate.

8) 'PASTELEGRAM' Helmed by Ariel Evans, this print/online arts publication is a focused study of one artist per issue.

9) APARTMENT GALLERIES Granted, this trend began several years ago with Katie Geha's SOFA Gallery, but now we can add Forus Gallery, Caitlin McCollom's Red Space, and Joshua Saunders' Eleven Seventeen Garland as well.

10) 'THE KING JAMES BIBLE: ITS HISTORY AND INFLUENCE' (Harry Ransom Center) While the current Norman Bel Geddes show is more, uh, fun, this exhibition showcased what the HRC does so well: marrying literary and visual history in deeply studious ways.

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