1. I-spy round. Score one point for each exhibition you saw in 2012 that featured one of the following:
a) An invigilator sticking an ‘out of order’ sign next to a 16mm projector that’s broken down for the third time that week.
b) Sculptures apparently based on tiffs or gifs.
c) Works about dilapidated Modernist architecture (yes, still). Score an extra point if the building in question is abandoned or overlooks a grey and cheerless sea.
d) Footage of an animal. Just look at its little face!
e) A partially painted aluminium picture frame/granite kitchen work surface/tinted car windshield leaning against the gallery wall.
f) Highly chromatic still-life photography that somehow contrives to look absolutely filthy, despite its clear lack of any discernably sexual subject matter.
g) Members of the Occupy movement listlessly checking their Twitter feeds, and eating vegan currywurst.
2. The highlight of the 2012 exhibition season was:
a) dOCUMENTA (13), of course. Nothing else touched it.
b) James Franco’s ‘Rebel’ organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
3. 2012 was all about:
a) The Educational Turn. Or the Performative Turn. Definitely some kind of Turn, anyway.
b) ‘Monkey Jesus’ image macros.
c) The Thousand-Year Legacy of the Cultural Olympiad.
d) Secretly hoping very hard indeed that the whole ‘Mayan 2012 Prophecy’ thing will turn out to be nothing more than a pre-Colombian version of the Millennium Bug.
4. 2013 will be about:
a) The Exocentric Turn. The Lesser-Crested Tern. Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ (1989).
b) ‘Digitial Media Artists’ from the 1990s – long confined to the art-world Siberia of teaching positions in unfashionable former polytechnics – being hurriedly reappraised as forerunners of ‘Post-Internet Art’.
c) Anish Kapoor revealing that his sculpture ArcelorMittal Orbit (2012) transforms into a Manga-style robotic exo-skeleton, in which he plans to fly to Gateshead for a final showdown with Antony Gormley, whose own massive armoured battle suit, The Angel of the North, has lain dormant since 1998.
d) The Great God Bolon Yokte K’uh emerging from the Nine Underworlds to take dominion over the Earth.
5. Anagram Round! Rearrange the following phrases to spell out the names of some leading contemporary artists:
a) My Rancid Hens
b) A Serial Sun Fool
c) Dirge Poet
d) Caviar Bar in MOMA
e) Smut Lunacy
6. Cut a curator, and he or she will bleed pure poetry. But which of the following is the title of a biennial/triennial that took place in 2012, and which is a track by bestselling 1990s German group Enigma, purveyors of Balearic beats fused with Gregorian plainsong and Aboriginal chants?
a) Intense Proximity
b) The Eyes of Truth
c) The Eye Never Sees Itself
d) Beyond the Invisible
e) Return to Innocence
f) Garden of Learning
g) Higher Atlas
h) The Rivers of Belief
7. Fallen behind on your theory reading during 2012? Don’t worry, a New Year means a New You! Score one point for each of the following texts you plan to catch up on in 2013:
a) Something by one of those Speculative Realist chaps you’ve been hearing so much about, probably Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude (2008).
b) The Wikipedia entry on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (1953). Old school, yes, but undoubtedly impressive. A pretended familiarity with the Tractatus (1922) is strictly for noobs.
c) Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl (1991). All that bonkers first-wave ‘Culture Wars’ stuff is bound to make a comeback sooner or later.
d) Giorgo Agamben’s Homer Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1995), re-read through the lens of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love (2006).
8. Last round. Theory is all very well, but it’s hard to get through a whole gallery dinner on conversation about Toni Negri alone. Which of the following recent tv shows should you mention as a ‘guilty pleasure’, next time you’re stuck between a collector’s husband and the unsmiling director of a Mittel-European Kunstverein at a post-opening soirée?
a) Gallery Girls – reality show in which a group of attractive, educationally privileged and wealthy 20-somethings navigate the highs and lows of unpaid internships in some of New York’s ‘leading’ commercial galleries.
b) Girls – comedy-drama in which a group of attractive, educationally privileged and wealthy 20-somethings navigate the highs and lows of Brooklyn hipsterdom.
c) Girls Gone Wild: Spring Break Invasion – documentary focusing on how America’s higher education system remains the nation’s best defence against the challenges posed by the growing global influence of China, India, Russia and Brazil.
First published in Issue 152