Best Art Series - 2008
The Front Room
If you run a contemporary art museum, you're bound to run into trouble sooner or later. On the one hand, you are running a museum, meaning you have to present formal shows of museum-caliber work. On the other hand, you're running a museum of contemporary art, meaning you want to bring your museumgoing public the freshest, most interesting art around. And therein lies the rub: A lot of the most interesting current themes in contemporary art may not be quite ready for museum prime time. So what's a contemporary art museum to do? Do you risk ossifying your galleries with the art of last century, or do you throw your lot in with the scruffy young turks? Well, if you're steering the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, you cook up a nimble little series like the Front Room. Conceived as a smaller, experimental space that stands in contrast to the museum's more formal galleries, the Front Room is intended to reflect subtler currents in the contemporary art world. Its shows last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, meaning curators can move quickly to capture mini-movements in the art world. Best of all, the series gives critical exposure to younger artists from out of town that we wouldn't otherwise get the chance to see.