Best of 2012: Art made here

Our roundup of the best art made in New England that we saw here in 2012:

Over the past decade, art museums and institutions around Boston have put more than $1 billion into renovations and expansions—from the Museum of Fine Arts’ Art of the Americas Wing to the new Institute of Contemporary Art building to the work ongoing at the Harvard Art Museums. Despite all this new infrastructure, it remains rare to find locally-made contemporary art in our local museums. For example, the MFA has perhaps three Boston area artists on view in its contemporary art wing, while the ICA seems to have just one local artist on view in the whole museum. But that doesn’t mean great art isn’t being produced here. Below is a sampler of the best art made in the region in 2012:

Antoniadis and Stone “Rough Shape” Samson, Dec. 16, 2011, to Jan. 28, 2012. The Boston duo’s sculptural installations (pictured at top) channel the essence of the crappy, generic architecture of strip malls and tired subway stations. Two concrete pillars toppled over, but remained neatly balanced on a third like an anti-triumphal arch. A pair of concrete stairs, turned upside-down and balanced foot-to-foot became an arch over a little paper bag crinkled in the shape of an absent beer bottle. It’s minimalist sculpture that evokes the monumental ruins of a dystopian future America.

Agata Michalowska “Dom” AS220 Project Space, Feb. 5 to 25, 2012. This rumination on home was so personal that many of the references were difficult to catch. But the Providence artist’s installation—including careful placement of cast-glass cups and table runners in a dining room-like installation—revealed a crisp sure vision.

Benjamin Benson Evans in “You Are Here!” at 17 Cox, April 25 to June 23, 2012. In his installation “TV Dinner” (pictured above), the Boston artist created a walk-in story. He transformed the space into a cramped, down-at-the-heels living room right out of 1990 (down to the copy of “People” magazine with “Most Wanted Woman” Paula Abdul on the cover). The clip of “Casablanca” screening on the television, the portraits of a man and woman hung on the wall were clues adding up to a story of love and loss. The attention to detail was astonishing—and signs of Evans’s growing talent.

Read the rest here.

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