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Tampa Bay Times art critic looks back at best visuals of 2013

Ouch, it's tough choosing my three favorite art exhibitions of 2013. We have had so many good ones at our seven regional museums. I think of the homage to Robert Rauschenberg at University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, "Frida and Friends" at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and a collection of prints from collector Caroline Adams Byrd-Denjoy at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, for example. But choose I must, so here are the shows I loved the most.

"Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice" opened in December 2012 at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art but it stayed for four months in 2013 so it made my list. It was an incredibly gorgeous and generously stocked exhibition.

"To See As Artists See: American Art from the Phillips Collection" was another exhibition of gorgeous paintings at the Tampa Museum of Art by artists including Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Thomas Eakins and Jacob Lawrence. Yes, I'm revealing my predilection for traditional medium and style in choosing these two shows but I'll add that a contemporary film, Sea of Tranquility by Hans Op de Beeck, at TMA almost edged out the traditionialists.

My last favorite isn't a show. It's the renovation of the galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg that opened in September after a three-month facelift. Painted gallery walls, new flooring and lighting make the art in the Permanent collection, which we have been viewing for years, seem fresh and new.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at lbennett@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8293.

Tampa Bay Times art critic looks back at best visuals of 2013 12/31/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 5:57pm]
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