Deana Haggag's 10 favorite visual arts exhibitions of 2013

MICA graduate Deana Haggag selects her favorite visual arts moments of the year.

MICA graduate Haggag, 26, was named director of the Contemporary Museum this year. Exhibits are listed in reverse chronological order. 

Seth Adelsberger, "Surface Treatment," Springsteen Gallery, Nov. 22-Jan. 10, 2014


Springsteen Gallery isn't even a year old and they've already left one hell of a mark on our arts scene. Seth Adelsberger's exhibition is sharp and a wanton change towards process that I very much enjoyed. I am looking forward to his solo exhibition opening June 2014 at the Baltimore Museum of Art and encourage everyone to catch his work at Springsteen while you can. Also, someone please, please, please buy me an Adelsberger for Christmas.

Multiple Artists, "Paint it Black, Guest Spot," Nov. 9-Jan. 4, 2014


Paint it Black was one of the most cohesive group exhibitions I've seen all year. Guest Spot curated seven artists all working with the concept of 'black'. The breadth of works included is expansive resulting in an an exhibition I think everyone should see before it closes January 4, 2014.

Curtis Miller, "Lovely Neighbor/Lonely Neighbor," The John Fonda Gallery, July 19-Aug. 11

Curtis Miller knows what he's doing with paint and his modest, solo exhibition at The John Fonda Gallery earlier this year proved it a million times over. I especially loved his use of the bright, day-glo colors Baltimore seems to love. I am always waiting to see what he will do next.

Nathaniel Mellors and Jimmy Joe Roche, "Front Room," Baltimore Museum of Art, July 3-Sept. 29.

I love the Baltimore Museum of Art's renovated Contemporary Wing and I have enjoyed their Front Room exhibitions thus far. I especially loved Nathaniel Mellors and Jimmy Joe Roche's two-man show — there was so much range. I was surprised to hear the artists had never actually met because the exhibition was so seamless it read more like a collaboration of sorts.

Rodolphe Delaunay, "Of the Attraction of the Sun," ICA Baltimore at Current Space, May 25-July 16.

The ICA Baltimore is turning into a hit factory. I may have walked through Rodolphe Delaunay's solo exhibition about half a dozen times because I loved it so much. I am a huge fan of Felix Gonzalez-Torres because I think he is a master of concept but also editing and this exhibition struck a similar cord. It was just enough to leave you wanting while still asserting a sense of fait accompli.

Benjamin Kelley, "REAP," TANK gallery, May 4


Benjamin Kelley used steel remains, from the 258-foot gas tower BGE imploded in February of this year, to create half a dozen sculptural forms that littered the floor of TANK for a one-night-only exhibition. Kelley may be the most fearless artist in Baltimore and the show was well worth navigating your way through the Copycat building to find it.

Caitlin Cunningham, "Solo Exhibition," sophiajacob, April 20-May 25

Caitlin Cunningham is a master of narrative. The exhibition had backbone and the 'tension junkie' in me found extreme solace in Cunningham's careful examinations of context and its relationship to culture and history both for the arts and beyond.

Seth Crawford, "Jumbo Mumbo," ICA Baltimore at Gallery CA, April 6-27

Seth Crawford is a kind of stand-up comedian, if you will. Jumbo Mumbo, brilliantly organized by ICA Baltimore, flexed every absurdity Crawford has ever had in his mind and I sincerely loved every bit of it. I especially lost it over the cologne in the cup. Yes–that was there.

Conor Backman, "The Other Real," Nudashank, March 23-April 28


Nudashank curated a lot of great exhibitions this year — Dina Kelberman's "SCREENCAPS" and Alex Da Corte's "Dead Zone" were also great. I especially loved "The Other Real" because it acted almost like a gymnasium for the viewer's mind. Backman left no detail unnoticed, no questions unanswered all the while seemingly leaving the exhibition wide open to possibility: no easy feat.

Lisa Dillin, "Stopgap," Gallery Four, March 16-April 20

Lisa Dillin. My oh my. I need to confess that Dillin is basically my biggest art crush. This show was nothing short of perfection — literally perfection. I hope, as my mind melts to mush, that I never forget this show.