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Sebastian Smee’s 2013 visual art picks

 Best contemporary solo show: “Amy Sillman: one lump or two,” Institute of Contemporary Art

 Best contemporary group show: “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers From Iran and the Arab world,” Museum of Fine Arts

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 Best modern show: “Maurice Prendergast: By the Sea,” Bowdoin College
Museum of Art

 Best Asian show: “Portugal, Jesuits, and Japan: Spiritual Beliefs and Earthly Goods,” McMullen Museum of Art,
Boston College

 Best African show: “Shangaa: Art of Tanzania,” Portland Museum of Art

 Best video/film shows: “Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Egypte,” List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and “Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Olentoja (Creatures),” Davis Museum at Wellesley College.

 Most extraordinary single work: Tom Phillips’s “A Humument,” Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art

 Best old master shows: “Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane, Master Drawings From the Casa Buonarroti” and “Rembrandt the Etcher,” MFA, and “Francesco Vanni: Art in Late Renaissance Siena,” Yale University Art Gallery.

 Best re-hangs of permanent collection: “re-mastered,” Worcester Art Museum, and “Nowhere But Here: Art From the Alex Katz Foundation,” Colby College Museum of Art

 Break-out artist: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, who, in 2013, showed (and performed) at the Cuban Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, was given a solo show at the Tufts University Art Gallery, and had a commercial solo show in
New York.

 Best fashion show: “Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion,” RISD Museum, and “Future Beauty: Avant-Garde Japanese Fashion,” Peabody Essex Museum

 Best homegrown show: “John Singer Sargent Watercolors,” MFA

 Best challenger to Sargent: “Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America,” Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Sebastian Smee can be reached at ssmee@globe.com.
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