Whats your #ArtThing of 2015?
1. I saw quite a lot of splendid art – old and new – this year, but the one show that refuses to remove itself from my brain was Portable Classic at the Prada Foundation in Venice, on during the Biennale. Perhaps it’s the perverse little monster in me, but as more and more attention is directed towards political art or socially-engaged art or useful art, I gravitate towards exhibitions like this as some kind of subconscious calibration. That’s not to say that it wasn’t absolutely worthy in its own right – helped, of course, by buckets of money, stylish exhibition design, and friends in high places – because it was, but that ironically its tightly-focused, scholarly weightiness (yet worn oh so lightly) was a kind of mental respite from the overloaded stimulation of art “putting a pistol to men’s heads” everywhere else.
2. Closer to home, while I typically loathe art-based TV for being idiotic, infantile or just plain uninteresting (except Fake or Fortune – love you, Mouldy!), artist Lachlan Goudie delivered yet another example of just how good Scotland is becoming at promoting its own artistic history with his four-part series for BBC Scotland, The Story of Scottish Art. From the delicate geometry of carved Neolithic stones to the pointed brilliance of Enlightenment portraitist, Allan Ramsay, to Peter Doig, the country’s most successful living artist, Goudie expertly covered swathes of Scottish art history, offering penetrating insights into artistic techniques and subtly critical commentary throughout.