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The Top 50 Exhibitions of 2023

In the midst of a hyper-charged news cycle throughout 2023, we still managed to see a lot of art and celebrate creativity in all its glorious permutations. We asked Hyperallergic staff and contributors to send us a list of their favorite art exhibitions and experiences this year and we’ve compiled this from that call for submissions. The list may be thin on biennials, since we’re mostly bored of them (who isn’t?), but it’s heavy on work by artists who continue to drive the conversations that artists, critics, curators, art historians, and the public are eager to have. —Hrag Vartanian, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder

11. Pepón Osorio: My Beating Heart/ Mi corazón latiente

Some exhibitions touch our souls in an indelible way, and this one was it for me this year. Through a practice influenced by theater and social work, Puerto Rico-born artist Pepón Osorio crafts intricate environments, almost like film sets, that pay homage to people, their lived experiences, and the primarily working-class and Latinx neighborhoods they inhabit. Dating from the 1990s to the present, the works at the New Museum included recreations of a shuttered Philadelphia public school, a barbershop, a taped-off Hollywood crime scene, and a teenage boy’s maximalist bedroom adjoining a correspondingly stark jail cell like the one where his father was held, an audio exchange between them threading the discordant spaces together like an invisible string. Each room or installation was its own contained tableaux, realistic down to the most minute details — a bobblehead dog toy next to a can of coconut oil mist on the salon counter; a paper plate covered in aluminum foil in “Quinceañera” (2011), referencing the traditional coming-of-age party for girls and the universal pleasure of taking home a piece of leftover cake. In an art world where the word “community” is so often tossed around meaninglessly, its specificity carelessly flattened, Osorio’s practice does justice to locality, language, and the distinct, irreplicable hum of a person’s life. —Valentina Di Liscia

33. Shellyne Rodriguez: Third World Mixtapes: The Infrastructure of Feeling

It takes a large heart to accommodate the pain and struggles of others in places near and far. Bronx-based artist Shellyne Rodriguez has that largesse of heart, together with skillful hands and a revolutionary intellect. Her debut exhibition at PPOW, showcasing portraits of friends, neighbors, and allies from the Bronx, was a revelation and a promise for more work to come from this artist, who refuses to play by the art market’s rules. —Hakim Bishara