7. SECOND-BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY AFTER THE LEONARDO AUCTION “Hansel and Gretel,” one of the year’s more expensive works of installation art, involving the latest in high-tech surveillance technology reiterated as fun-house spectacle. It was cooked up by the Chinese activist artist Ai Weiwei and the architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and staged at the Park Avenue Armory. They all should have known better.
8. BEST WHITNEY BIENNIAL IN RECENT MEMORY The 2017 version, for its diversity, its accessibility and even for the storms it ignited.
9. SOME OF THE BEST RECENT SIGNS THAT THE FUTURE IS FEMALE New York’s museums had so many impressive monographic shows of the work of modern women, it’s almost feeling normal: Florine Stettheimer at the Jewish Museum; Louise Lawler at the Museum of Modern Art; Marisa Merz and Lygia Pape at the Met Breuer; Carol Rama and Kaari Upson at the New Museum; Laura Owens at the Whitney Museum of American Art (through Feb. 4); Patty Chang at the Queens Museum (through Feb. 18); Judy Chicago at the Brooklyn Museum (through March 4); and Carolee Schneemann and Cathy Wilkes at MoMA/PS1 (through March 11).
10. BEST EXHIBITION SCHEDULE AT A MUSEUM IN UPHEAVAL The Met’s, which included shows of camera-phone images exchanged by 12 pairs of artists; the nearly abstract etchings of the 17th-century Dutch artist Hercules Segers; Marsden Hartley’s Maine paintings; an astounding survey of Japanese bamboo art and basketry (through Feb. 4); and, of course, the recently opened shows of David Hockney’s paintings (through Feb. 25) and Michelangelo’s drawings. That last exhibition includes a veritable show-within-a-show of sheets by his teacher Domenico Ghirlandaio (through Feb. 12).
11. GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Linda Nochlin, Glenn O’Brien, Jack Tilton, Tony Conrad, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Vito Acconci, A. R. Penck, Trisha Brown, James Rosenquist, Holly Block, George Braziller, Barkley L. Hendricks, Jannis Kounellis, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Dore Ashton, Ousmane Sow, Karl Katz, John Ashbery, Edit DeAk, Julian Stanczak, Beau Dick, James S. Ackerman, Richard Benson and Howard Hodgkin.
Bad-dream Washington politics. White nationalism. Sexual predation. Add the spectacle of a flatulent art market raking in endless cash, and 2017 feels like a good year to say goodbye to. But there were positive things. The following meant the most to me: