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“Most Important Works of Art in the Last Decade” Winners Revealed

Posted Feb 07 2011 9:15pm

Sorry for taking so long to post about this project . Very few agreed with my nominations , although we got some great choices by a lot of people. So, in no particular order, here are the winners, with some hand-chosen arguments as to why they were chosen:

- The Wire (television): The greatest televison show of all time. No work of art better captures the collapse of post-industrial america and the ineffectiveness and outright failure of our systems and institutions (by Anonymous)

Fans so often declare their loyalty because the show is “so real.” But how do we know that? I’m willing to bet that many fans of The Wire (including myself) have little to no interaction with the actual world that the show deals with. It’s truly a testament to the talent of everyone involved in production that even we, the relatively uneducated audience, understand that the themes and characters shown on The Wire are at the core of reality. And even the most basic research backs this up. Many of the characters are based on people that Simon and Burns had known about because of their previous careers. “Omar” is based on an amalgamation of several real pseudo-vigilantes who robbed drug dealers in the 80s-90s, namely Donnie Andrews. Many of the actors are former cops and criminals. Melvin Williams was a high profile drug trafficker and organized crime figure in Baltimore in the 70s. He plays a deacon on the show (by Lucciana Costa ).

- Banksy (artist…yes, I did say that you needed to name specific art and not just an artist, but because his identity is unconfirmed and some of his work doesn’t have titles, we made an exception): Banksy is perhaps the premier guerrilla artist of our generation. If street art has truly come into the mainstream it’s because of his efforts to make people rethink the urban landscape. He takes risks that other artists are unwilling to take and not in some undefined art school definition of risk but by going out and actually putting art where people are forced to interact with it, without regard to the legality of the action or his own safety when working in active war zones (by Ben Corman ).

- Lord of the Rings (film): A truly monumental achievement in film-making. Not everyone loved these films but few can argue how impressive both the story and effects were. LOTR took the use of technology in film to a new level and set a higher standard for making movies. It may be the reason why many movies are now being made in 3D; it’s just too difficult to match the quality of LOTR (by Anonymous).

- Brokeback Mountain (film): It is one of the first truly critically acclaimed and successful mainstream movies with popular actors to seriously portray a same-sex male romance. Previous movies may have featured gay relationships as part of a “biography” (e.g. Wilde, Gods and Monsters) either secondary to the story or for laughs (e.g. the Birdcage); and tv shows have often portrayed gay relationships for laughs as well (gay characters are often relegated to flamboyant “BFF” roles or as bitchy drama queens). This is one of the first accessible movies to break through social barriers as full tragic characters that you would find in any other “straight” dramatic romance. With its successful run of 83 million US and 180 million worldwide, this success demonstrated an increased willingness to portray (and for an audience to pay to receive) the universality of gays in media, making them less “other” (by Dr. Allison ).

- The Office (British television): How do you take a topic so boring (the daily interactions of miserable people in an office) and make it entertaining? Well, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant used to faux-documentary style to make incredibly identifiable characters and situations that left audiences doubled over with laughter. The show won numerous awards, helped to eliminate the annoying Laugh Track in sitcoms and spawned an immensely popular remake in the states (by Anonymous).

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