The year in art: A look back at memorable exhibitions in Pittsburgh

Reflecting upon the variety and numbers of venues, shows and exhibitors in our region, it occurred to me that the Post-Gazette could have a “best of” category for arts institutions. However, for 2012 I’ll stay with an overview of the year’s exhibitions.

These 10 exhibitions enriched my year with new ideas, provoking commentary, explorations of culture, poetic beauty or a combination thereof. Some continue into the new year, and the catalogs for many of them offer a great read during holiday down time.

1 — “Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851-1939″ at Carnegie Museum of Art is as spectacular in its own way as the fairs themselves were, brimming with 200 unique objects that reflect the period’s emphasis on craftsmanship and participants proclivity to shine. An outstanding symposium complemented the exhibition scholarship. (Continuing through Feb. 24; 412-622-3131 or

2 — “Factory Direct: Pittsburgh,” organized by

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