To commemorate the year that was, we invited artists and designers to take part in an open-ended exercise: share with us 2012’s best “things”—artworks, books, albums, political moments, memories, spectacles, failures, etc. The first to take us up on the offer was photographer Alec Soth, subject of the Walker-organized exhibition From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America, who weighs in with the “10 things that gave me pleasure in 2012.”
2012: The Year According to Alec Soth
“Joy” by Zadie Smith
Photo: Dominique Nabokov, Penguin Group
In her short essay on the difference between joy and pleasure in the New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith changed the way I think about everything from parenting to the writing of Top 10 lists.
As a die-hard fan of soft-serve ice cream, I’m thrilled about the new, self-serve frozen yogurt craze. It seems like every town has at least one of these new outlets. Gaudy and overpriced, yes, but so damn good.
Juergen Teller’s Pictures and Text
I’m always looking for books that combine text and image in interesting ways. My favorite in this category was this aptly titled book by Juergen Teller. Teller’s naturally gifted prose is as sweet as his pictures are crude. The result is laugh-out-loud funny and strangely moving.
AMC’s Breaking Bad
When I watch an episode of Breaking Bad, I feel like I’m going to church. This year they only gave us a half season, but it was enough to keep me faithful.
Frank Ocean on Saturday Night Live
I’m not sure I saw a single live musical performance in 2012, but I felt like I was sitting right next to Frank Ocean when he sang “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” on SNL.
The Queen of Versailles by Lauren Greenfield
In a year where the buzzwords were 99% and 47%, Lauren Greenfield’s documentary of a 1% family ended up being the most potent portrayal of recession economics I’ve seen.
Described as “a collective photo album in which both amateurs and professionals archive their memories,” Romka Magazine sounds really cheesy. But great curation and beautiful design make this a truly endearing publication.
Chapter marker for the final part of Brad Zellar’s The Envoy: A Christmas Serial
People throw around the term “genius” a little too loosely, but writer Brad Zellar is the real deal. This December he posted a 60,000-word story on his blog that was not only as good as any novel I’ve read in ages, but I’ll be damned if I can find a single typo. Somebody get this guy a MacArthur grant, pronto.