New Year Quiz

How well do you remember 2015?


I-spy round. Score a point for each exhibition you saw in 2015 that featured one of the following: 

a) Dancers. Dancers whose perfect, Spandex-sheathed bodies are enough to make you weep. Wait, is that thing they’re lolling on supposed to be a sculpture? Never mind, keep on looking at the dancers. Wow, that one has to be double-jointed. Dancers. Sigh.
b) Ceramics made by fashionable young artists under the age of 30. Score an extra point if a well-meaning broadsheet critic reviewed the show with reference to Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010).
c) Box-fresh (or ideally 3D-printed) consumer durables, smeared with something sticky, spore-like and supposedly redolent of shed data – aerosol cheese, perhaps, or those squishy little balls of tapioca you get in bubble tea.
d) Large-scale abstract canvases that, but for a single, incredibly thin contemporary gimmick, would have met with the wholehearted approval of your high-school art teacher who was always banging on about ‘mark-making’.
e) Essayistic videos, combining any or all of the following: footage of workers assembling smartphones; a fragmented account of an eccentric 1960s-era scientific research project into time travel/human cloning/immortality; clips of cephalopods ripped from BBC Natural History Unit broadcasts; shots of the artist’s best mate vaping as the sun rises over a Bronze Age hill fort; dancers (again).
f) A group of protestors, righteously enraged by the host institution’s alleged union-busting, or its sponsor’s environmental record, or the paintings of Pierre-Auguste Renoir.


Most art-world professionals spent the Venice preview week sipping Aperol spritz, making gags about ‘who’s representing ISIS this year’ and taking selfies beside oligarchs’ yachts. Prove yourself above the common herd by identifying which of the following were the titles of exhibitions staged in one of 56th Biennale’s national pavilions and which are albums by the Gallic laser-harpist and ambient music pioneer, Jean-Michel Jarre:

a) ‘Misplaced Ruins’
b) ‘Deserted Palace’
c) ‘Respiro’
d) ‘Oxygène’
e) ‘révolutions’
f) ‘Revolutions’
g) ‘Present Nearness’
h) ‘Magnetic Fields’


In 2015, all the cool kids were talking about:

a) Accelerationism (scream if you want to go faster).
b) #chthulucene (scream!)
c) Wu-Tang Clan’s US$5 million album-as-unique-artwork, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (C.R.E.A.M.).
d) Banksy’s coruscating, perfectly judged satire on poor-quality seaside amusement parks, Dismaland (I scream for ice cream).


2015’s hottest ticket was:

a) Hunky former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis giving a keynote speech at the sixth Moscow Biennale.
b) Hunky Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) star Keanu Reeves lecturing on Paul Gauguin at Basel’s Fondation Beyeler.
c) A studio visit with emerging sculptor Miley Cyrus.
d) An invitation to be ‘digital artist in residence’ on an impoverished kunsthalle’s Twitter feed. (Note: roaming charges will not be reimbursed.)


Infantile anagram round! Rearrange the following phrases to spell the names of leading contemporary artists:

a) Tory mangles irony
b) I shrank a poo
c) Really semen
d) Joke shop tush


In 2016, your preferred social media platform will be:

a) Instagram, of course. Screw words, the art world’s all about images. Heart! Sparkly Heart! Kissy Face! Clappy Hands!
b) Facebook – at least until your mum sends a friend request to that terrifyingly snooty gallerist you know in Neukölln.
c) The beta version of an Oculus Rift-enabled virtual reality environment, maybe High Fidelity or Project Sansar.
d) The letters page of a venerable British art magazine, published in eye-catching black and white since the days of the Callaghan administration. Retro, yes, but where else could you engage with quite so many lecturers from provincial universities on the subject of practice-based PhDs?


Final round. In many Western nations, public funding for the arts is in precipitous decline. The best way for institutions to address this is:

a) Effective lobbying of government.
b) ‘Partnerships’ with repressive, petrodollar-rich regimes.
c) Um, setting up a Kickstarter or something?
d) Praying for a gentler, kinder world. Answers on a postcard, please.

Tom Morton is a writer, independent curator and contributing editor for frieze, based in Rochester, UK.

Issue 176

First published in Issue 176

Jan – Feb 2016

Most Read

The raids follow the suspension of the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent’s director
Ahead of the second edition of Gallery Weekend Beijing, the pick of the shows to see in the city
Sexual harassment is not a morality melodrama – it will persist if workers continue to exert so little control over...
The museum cited ‘creative differences’ for her departure but former colleagues suggest problematic management on her...
At a time of rising xenophobia and precarity, former Queens Museum director Laura Raicovich on why arts institutions...
What Nan Goldin’s protesting of the Sacklers’s complicity in the US opioid crisis tells us about self-deification...
With the 2018 Sydney Biennale opening this week, a guide to the best gallery and museum shows to see around the city
The artist says his Chicago sculpture Cloud Gate was appropriated for an NRA advertisement without permission; condemns...
In further news: Marina Abramović working on an opera; director of Ghent museum suspended after show including...
An open letter in support of the soon to be ousted curator María Inés Rodríguez has been signed by more than 50...
From Ragnar Kjartansson’s Italo-pop-infused The Sky in a Room to Matt Stokes’s happy hardcore recitals: the organ’...
Tate’s artist in residence Liv Wynter calls director Maria Balshaw’s comments on harassment a ‘slap in the face’
Changing shapes and sizes on stage is a good move, but a complicated one
Remembering the avant-garde filmmaker whose work, with her partner Yervant Gianikian, demonstrated an active and...
In other news: Tania Bruguera and Laurie Anderson bring political banners to Times Square; Polish artists protest...
With the Armory Show opening in the city, a guide to the gallery and museum shows not to miss
US true crime series Unsolved takes two formative pop cultural events to explore their concealed human stories and...
Ahead of the Oscars the director of the art world satire talks about making the real-life Square, the Swedish monarchy...
In further news: criticism over Great Exhibition of the North’s BAE Systems partner; judge rules Charlottesville...
The new television series invokes violence and fear as defining forces of civilization, just like the Kenneth Clark...
What the artist’s newly-unveiled chapel in Austin, Texas, tells us about the origins of his practice
With Macron poised to make changes to France's handling of ethnographic art, the quai Branly would do well to follow...
The Barbadian filmmaker, recipient of this year’s Margaret Tait Award, is intent on disrupting institutional complacency
Anya Berger, photographed in Italy.
‘The bearing of an aristocrat and the politics of a revolutionary’, Tom Overton pays tribute
The mythic time of comic-book narrative represents a fatal challenge to the film’s transcendent politics
From the controversial winner of the Golden Bear to Morgan Fisher's homage to Bruce Conner – to possibly the bleakest...
Two controversial events suggest a precarious relationship between China’s culture industry and the state’s soft power...
In further news: French artists and curators rally behind Jeff Koons; Tania Bruguera named for next Turbine Hall...
The artist investigates tensions between the sturdy and the fragile, and the public and the private at VI,VII, Oslo
Why have women been written out of internet history?
Jace Clayton interviews Arthur Jafa about the politics of filmmaking, ‘black sites’ and learning how to surprise...
With global issues cutting across disciplines, a number of projects are showing where the mixing of art and science can...
Ruf resigned last year after a potential conflict of interest; a petition claims that she is being punished for her...
Ahead of ARCOMadrid this week, a guide to the best institutional shows in the city
At La Panacée, Montpellier, Nicolas Bourriaud’s manifesto for a new movement and attempt to demarcate an artistic peer...
A report commissioned by the museum claims Raicovich ‘misled’ the board; she disputes the investigation’s claims
The question at the heart of Manchester Art Gallery’s artwork removal: what are the risks when cultural programming...
A rare, in-depth interview with fashion designer Jil Sander

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

November - December 2017

frieze magazine

January - February 2018

frieze magazine

March 2018