In Review: Favorite Art Exhibitions of 2011

Categories: Visual Art
​As we bid farewell to the year and look ahead to 2012, Jackalope Ranch contributors will bring you some greatest hits from 2011. Today we're taking a look back at a few local art happenings that caused a stir in the scene ... 
From top left: "Seeing is Believing" by Rebecca Campbell and Angela Ellsworth, "IDIOS KOSMOS: KOINOS KOSMOS", "Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other", "Dulce: Bisque without Borders", Karolina Sussland at Modified Arts.  
​Despite my constant bitching to the contrary, 2011 offered some really important art exhibitions in both museums and galleries around the Valley. Here's a list of my personal favorites; they're not in any particular order, as I consider them all to be equally worthy of note for various arbitrary and capricious reasons: 

10. "Seeing is Believing: Rebecca Campbell and Angela Ellsworth" at Phoenix Art Museum: 
 Mitt Romney has nothing on Campbell and Ellsworth when it comes to mining the mother lode of being raised Mormon, as these two women so artfully do. Finally, PAM is featuring local artists - took it long enough. This show's running until January 22, 2012, so there's still time to wander through the wonderland of Mormonism's personal stamp on Campbell and Ellsworth's creative psyches.

9. "Dulce: Bisque without Borders" centered on the work of Franco Mondini-Ruiz at ASU Art Museum's Ceramic Research Center: 
Mondini-Ruiz's antics and art made for one of the most memorable openings I've ever attended, during which the artist pitched his uber-kitschy, yet clever, artwork -- which deals with the cultural clash between El Norte and La Frontera -- like a seasoned hawker on Tijuana's Avenida Revolución. Check out my review and a slideshow of the delightful mayhem

8. "Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other" at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art: 
This Neuenschwander retrospective, organized by New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Irish Museum of Art, was chock full of the Brazilian conceptual artist's performative, video and installation work from the last ten years. For me, the exhibition had only one major flaw - there just wasn't enough work included. We need more thought-provoking conceptual art offerings like this one.  

7. Karolina Sussland at Modified Arts: 
Raising snarkiness to high art, Sussland's photographic miming of inane commercial stock photos made me snort out loud. Here's a recap of Sussland's show... 

Phoenix homeboy Jon Haddock gave us a two-fer exhibition earlier this year in a show that fearlessly dug into the shadowy psychological demi-monde of the comic book and its die-hard fans. In "Masters of Creative Reality," curated by the local artist, he selected work by comic book masters who deal with the slings and arrows of everyday existence; in "Us vs. Them," Haddock's own work sets up the dichotomy between the comic fan's often painfully isolated world and the fantasyland created in comic books. Leave it to Haddock to create that delicious frisson of discomfort in the often dark and foreboding art he disguises as cartoons.

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Matthew H. Owens
Matthew H. Owens

I don't know how you can compare The Chaos Theory Show to a Cowboy Art show...  This is as irrelevant a comparison as comparing the work of Renoir to Basquiat, per se.  

Wayne Michael Reich
Wayne Michael Reich

Good article, and overall- I agree with most of it.

But- in reference to your Chaos Theory review, I was wondering why both you and Managing Editor Amy Silverman chose to ignore and/or deride the questions that were asked of you by your readers.

Rather than act like true professionals and defend/debate your respective positions, you [in particular] both stated that they [the readers questions] had no validity since most were posted under pseudonyms on the forum that New Times specifically designed to allow readers to choose that option if they so desired.

I'm not suggesting that you should have dealt with those queries you found vulgar or threatening, but I do think that neither of you did yourself any favors by insulting your readership base.

Considering that Amy has a well known history of posting positive comments incognito on her own stories (an unethical breach for someone in her position, no matter how you rationalize it) I find your opinion on web anonymity somewhat disingenuous at best.

You're a critic. Answering detractors is part of the job, and if you can't do that like a mature adult, then perhaps you shouldn't complain about it either.

In all honesty, I would like to read a well crafted response to the issues I've raised regarding this situation, but I have serious doubts that will actually happen.

You replied to one of those readers by stating:

:"If it's worth saying or putting in writing, it's worth signing. Otherwise, it's worth nothing.",

so... since I do value your professional response, I'm signing my name on the virtual dotted line.Now it's your turn.


Wayne Michael Reich (http://waynemichaelreich.blogs...

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