As we get ready for another busy year, its good to look back and think about the crazy year we are about to close the book on. It is impossible to describe how incredible 2007 has been. Every year I am here (going on 6 now) seems to be better than the last. Let's just go over some of the things from the aught seven:
We started the year with the closing of the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibition. I spent so many afternoons sneaking up to the seascape gallery. There was something magical about that installation and the lighting of the works. The calm and tranquility that was in the room was so refreshing and contemplative. Right now, in the Rothko gallery in Declaring Space has many of the same qualities, but more on that later.
We also saw several wonderful Focus shows. Focus: Chinatsu Ban was delightful, and gave us all an excuse to use the word "poop" in everyday conversations and not giggle about it (well, we still giggled). Focus: Ralf Ziervogel gave us obsessively detailed drawings and fantastic installations. His work also brought about some very good conversations among the ranks. It goes to show that being confronted with images that may at the surface be disturbing, allows for introspection and the chance to address that which disturbs us. Finally, Focus: Barnaby Furnas gave us one of our most recent acquisitions. The Director's Council made an excellent purchase (as they always do), but when our curator Andrea Karnes selects quality work and artists (as she always does), any of the works would have been incredible additions to our collection.
Andrea's major exhibition this spring, Pretty Baby, was full of fantastic artists. It was a great chance to see some contemporary work that I was not very familiar with, as well as getting to spend some time with some of my favorites like Yoshitomo Nara and Loretta Lux.
Of course the obvious mention of the year would be the Ron Mueck show over the summer. The popularity of this exhibition was undeniable. We had people here that had never been in a museum before and they came back multiple times over the run of the show, bringing everyone they could grab hold of. If any show creates repeat museum goers, I'd call that a success.
Declaring Space continues to draw people from all over the world to see some of the most important works by these four artists (Mark Rothko, Lucio Fontana, Barnett Newman, and Yves Klein) gathered in one exhibition. As I mentioned before, Michael Auping, our chief curator, has installed this show in a way that you won't see anywhere else. It is incredible to see Rothko's paintings lit so conservatively. It really does activate the painting (I can't really think of a better way to describe it, come and see them before January 6 if you don't know what I mean). And if you love the color blue, there isn't a more luscious gallery than the Yves Klein gallery.
Finally, we had some incredible performances here. Our Modern 'til Midnightsbrought in some very talented musicians. The list is too long to name everyone, but there wasn't a bad set in either MTM. I will say that Kid Koala and St. Vincent might be the two nicest people on the planet. Stay tuned for the next Modern 'til Midnight in April, I promise it will be bigger and better.
This year was great, but looking ahead, it will have some tough competition compared to twenty-oh-eight. Martin Puryear, Joshua Mosley, Banks Violette, Kehinde Wiley, Theresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, and a few major surprises are lined up for the next 12 months.
Being here, at the museum, for everything mentioned above...ladies and gentleman, this is why I have the best job in the world.