The Top 50 Exhibitions of 2023
December 28, 2023
We asked our staff and contributors to look back on a year in art around the world, from major museum shows to unexpected gems in alternative spaces.
Spot some of the artworks in our Top 50 Exhibitions list in Henri Matisse's "The Red Studio" (1911). (Note: The works are not depicted to scale.) (edit Valentina Di Liscia/Hyperallergic)
In the midst of a hyper-charged news cycle throughout 2023, we still managed to see a lot of art and celebrate creativity in all its glorious permutations. We asked Hyperallergic staff and contributors to send us a list of their favorite art exhibitions and experiences this year and we’ve compiled this from that call for submissions. The list may be thin on biennials, since we’re mostly bored of them (who isn’t?), but it’s heavy on work by artists who continue to drive the conversations that artists, critics, curators, art historians, and the public are eager to have. —Hrag Vartanian, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder
22. Indian Theater: Native Performance, Art, and Self-Determination since 1969
A fantastic exhibition that provides more proof of curator Candice Hopkins’s stellar ability to bring together timely and important shows of Native American, First Nations, and Indigenous art, this only suffered from a location that few ever get to visit.
From Kay WalkingStick’s “Feet Series Arrangement” (1972) and “Gray Apron” (1974), which serve as forerunners to many topics now commonly dealt with by Native women artists, to New Red Order’s chaotic “Conscientious Conscripture” (2018–ongoing) room of anti-settler colonial slogans and Nicholas Galanin’s “White Carver” (2012–ongoing) performance, which puts a carver on display while creating a wooden “pocket pussy” in an almost anthropological display, this wide-ranging survey firmly entrenches the centrality of Indigenous art in North American art conversations, and will hopefully remedy the intentional gaps created by 20th-century art historians of the settler-colonialist persuasion that echo dominant narratives of the ruling elite.
When WalkingStick once said, “Native women were the first abstractionists,” she was also asserting the centrality of Native experience in art on this continent, and now Hopkins is proving that continues to be true, even if institutions remain resistant to the ideas laid out so clearly here. At times this exhibition felt like a celebration of not only the past, and present, but the bright future that lies ahead. —HV
CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (ccs.bard.edu)
June 24–November 26, 2023
Curated by Candice Hopkins