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DART Picks From the Year in Pictures

By Peggy Roalf   Monday December 28, 2009

As a new decade approaches - and not a moment too soon - I'd like to feature the exhibitions and events of 2009 that were memorable, signifiers of something new, or just plain fun to cover. Here in reverse date order is my list of favorites, some of which are still on view. Be sure to check links for holiday schedules.

Tim Burton at MoMA, because it has brought in a new a new audience that could easily get hooked on a museum that's so obviously cool. The show has been such a huge draw that advance tickets are now required. Through April 26, 2010. DART November 18. Catalogue available.

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Left and center: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007). Directed by Tim Burton. Shown: Johnny Depp (as Sweeney Todd), copyright 2007 by DreamWorks LLC and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Leah Gallo. Untitled (Edward Scissorhands, copyright 2009 Tim Burton, copyright 2009 Twentieth Century Fox. Both courtesy The Museum of Modern Art. Right, seen in MoMA lobby: Fashion designer Kambriel (right), and friends from North Carolina, dress with respect to Tim Burton's artistry; photo: Peggy Roalf.

Robert Frank at Robert Mann Gallery. This intimate show of vintage photographs bridges Frank's career from his last days in Paris through his career beyond The Americans. It sheds light on a master whose later photographic work was somewhat overshadowed by the notoriety, and later on the fame that The Americans brought him. On view through January 9,2010. DART September 24. Last chance for Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, closing this Sunday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Catalogue available

William Blake at the Morgan Library & Museum, because it was enlightening and fun to do a walkthrough with David Sandlin - an artist whose view of Heaven and Hell could have the visionary Blake spinning in his grave. Last chance: closing this Sunday. DART December 8.

The Museum of the City of New York, because this New York-centric institution has transformed itself over the last few years from a dusty place for school field trips into a destination for sophisticated culture vultures. Currently on view: Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future, through January 31,2010 DART November 10. Joel Meyerowitz: Legacy, the Preservation of Wilderness in NYC Parks, in conjunction with Aperture Foundation through March 21, 2010. DART October 29. Only in New York: Photographs from Look Magazine, through April 10, 2010. DART November 16. Catalogues available

Richard Learoyd at McKee Gallery. These larger-than-life size one-of-a-kind portraits, made with a room-size camera obscura, show that it's possible to do something new in film-based photography. DART October 27. Catalogue available.

Keizo Kitajima at Amador Gallery brought to light a Japanese photographer who was truly at home in the world. His view of downtown New York is as astute, and as down and dirty as any local's could be. DART September 22. Check Dashwood Books for monographs.

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Left to right: Tokyo Shinjuku, 1979; New York, 1984; Juli 1983, West Berlin. Copyright Keizo Kitajima; courtesy Amador Gallery.

Nature as Artifice: Contemporary Dutch Photography at Aperture Gallery. Today's Dutch photographers take pleasure in a landscape of incredible detail and uncertain beauty, bringing up to date the stormy skies of their 17th century painterly antecedents. DART September 9. Catalogue available.

Avedon Fashion at ICP. Co-curators Vince Aletti and Carol Squiers pulled out all the stops to make this presentation of Avedon's fashion work an absolute must. One of the highlights was a small dark gallery with framing projectors illuminating Avedon's night shots of the Paris collections from the 1950s. DART September 8. Catalogue available.

The School of Visual Arts Theater, transformed through Milton Glaser's interiors and signage from a local movie house into a screening room and a destination for the latest information on all aspects of design: from branding to film making, photography to design criticism, illustration to new media. DART August 21 and DART June 19..

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Left to right: Self-Portrait as Map; Hell, Really; Einstein. Copyright Seymour Chwast.

Big Bambu: The Starn Brothers in Beacon New York. My April visit to this monumentally scaled work in progress coincided with the delivery of enough bamboo to create the colossal "T" commissioned for the New York Times T Magazine 5th anniversary issue. DART July 24.

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Left: Big Bambu, at the Starn Brothers’ studio in Beacon, NY. Right: Climbers inside Big Bambu. Photos by and courtesy of the Starn Brothers.

David Goldblatt at The New Museum. This retrospective of the South African photographer, recipient of the 2009 Cartier-Bresson Foundation prize, offered a view of a country rarely seen beyond its headline-making post-apartheid troubles. DART July 22. Catalogue available.

Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West at MoMA took a present-day look at why the wide open spaces continue to be a destination for "discoverers, dreamers and drifters." For every image you would hope to find in a survey that begins with the introduction of photography in America, there are several more that came as great surprises. DART March 25. Catalogue available.

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