5 Art Trends in 2012

Clockwise from top: GIF, Amy Feldman’s “Ever After” (2010), Jayson Musson’s “On Some Faraway Beach” (2012), and Angela Washko’s “WDWMW (Women Dying While Men Watch)” (2012).

We hate to discuss art trends because it makes art sound like fashion, but, alas, they’re real and they happen. Remember that whole “paintings propped up on objects” trend last year, well, we spotted a few things in the last twelve months we wanted to point out as the year comes to a close.

Screenshots from Video Games

Sometimes this is done really really well, like Justin Berry’s works earlier this year at Interstate Projects, but everyone seems to be doing it and it’s becoming way too common. We should mention that art video games (think Zach Gage and Pippin Barr) are also a growing thing too, but those haven’t even hit their peak yet.

Sloppy Abstract Painting

Raphael Rubinstein calls it “Provisional Painting” and Sharon Butler calls it the New Casualists. Whatever you call it, it’s friggin’ everywhere. And we’re not using the word “sloppy” as a bad thing, as Butler explains:

The idea is to cast aside the neat but rigid fundamentals learned in art school and embrace everything that seems to lend itself to visual intrigue — including failure. The painters take a meta approach that refers not just to earlier art historical styles, but back to the process of painting itself. These self-amused but not unserious painters have abandoned the rigorously structured propositions and serial strategies of previous generations in favor of playful, unpredictable encounters.

Unpredictable? Sharon, we predict that we won’t be able to escape it.

Making Fun of Art PR

It’s a cheap shot and we were one of the first to start it back in 2009, but honestly, we get it … The intern wrote it, or someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language did, or someone’s heart wasn’t into it … it happens, but everyone wants to criticize them. So that thing called International Art English, it’s not real, it’s just academic speak. Ok, we may poke fun at it again, because it’s funny, but there was a lot of it this year.

Cosby Sweaters

Oh boy, they’re everywhere. I personally blame Bushwick painter Paul Gagnon, who had a painting of one in his studio in 2011, and the Cosby Sweater Project that also began in 2011. This year I saw Cosby sweaters, Coogi sweaters, and things that look like both a hell of a lot of places, including Jayson Musson’s (aka Hennessey Youngman) art show and even our Ugly Sweater holiday party. VICE even published a video interview with the “creator” of the Cosby Sweater last month. Is it time for a Cosby Show remake?

Total GIF Takeover

AFC declared 2010 the Year of the GIF, but I think 2012 made 2010 look like a quaint almost GIF-free era by comparison. Powered by Tumblr, Buzzfeed, and other GIF-loving entities, the GIF crept into discussions of Presidential debates, TV shows, art email blasts, art shows, everywhere! Hell, we’re even creating Holiday GIF Guides nowadays.

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