Year in Review: Most Read Reviews of 2020

As is our custom here at Collector Daily, as we return to photography after the holiday break, we begin with a summarizing look back at the previous year. And what a year it was. While the first two months of 2020 followed generally normal rhythms, we went into complete pandemic lockdown in New York around the 15th of March, essentially closing off our museum, gallery, art fair, and auction categories. We pivoted our entire team to writing about photobooks, and did so essentially exclusively until the online-only auctions started up again, and then later as galleries and museums slowly started to reopen for visitors. By the end of the year, some degree of balance had been re-established, but photobooks have continued to fill in the gaps at a much higher rate than normal.

For those who like a statistical list, here are the reviews, articles, and essays that received the most reader traffic on Collector Daily in this very unusual year, in ranked order by subject. Skews in the data come from a very heavy dose of photobooks, an emphasis on the gallery shows that came before the lockdown (likely because interest in and awareness of those shows that have come after things have carefully reopened has materially changed), a spike in interest in the art fair reports once the lockdown kicked in, and a particular focus on the first pandemic-modified online photography sale at Sotheby’s in April and later the sale that would have coincided with Paris Photo (which was, of course, canceled.)

To be clear, these are not our editorial choices for some measure of “best” or “most important” from the past year, but simply the sums of the raw viewership data drawn from our analytics software. Perhaps we can best think of these lists, and some of the surprises that they contain, as signposts to what our particular community found worth considering, sharing, and actively discussing in this past year. For historical context, the most read reviews from prior years can be found here (2019), here (2018), here (2017), and here (2016).

Photobooks (drawn from a total of 156 reviews)

  1. Awoiska van der Molen, The Living Mountain (here)
  2. Richard Prince, Cowboy, ed. Robert M. Rubin (here)
  3. Garrett Grove, Errors of Possession (here)
  4. Sergio Purtell, Love’s Labour (here)
  5. Maria Lax, Some Kind of Heavenly Fire (here)
  6. John Gossage, Should Nature Change, Jack Wilson’s Waltz, and The Nicknames of Citizens (here)
  7. Sohrab Hura, The Levee (here)
  8. Robbie Lawrence, Blackwater River (here)
  9. Markéta Luskačová, By the Sea (here)
  10. Bill Dane, …it’s not pretty: 50 Years of Photographs, I’m still in love (here)

Museums and Galleries (drawn from a total of 61 reviews)

  1. Pieter Hugo, La Cucaracha @Yossi Milo (here)
  2. The Legacy of Issei Suda (1940-2019): Human Memory @Miyako Yoshinaga (here)
  3. Paul Graham, The Seasons @Pace (here)
  4. E. J. Bellocq, Storyville Portraits @Deborah Bell (here)
  5. Roe Ethridge, Old Fruit @Gagosian (here)
  6. Alison Rossiter, Substance of Density, 1918-1948 @Yossi Milo (here)
  7. Charles Johnstone, 34 Polaroids @National Arts Club (here)
  8. Marcia Resnick, Re-visions & Other Visions @Deborah Bell (here)
  9. John Dowell, Cotton: Symbol of the Forgotten @Laurence Miller (here)
  10. Luigi Ghirri: The Idea of Building @Matthew Marks (here)

Art Fairs, Auctions, and Opinions (drawn from a total of 64 auction results, fair reports, and essays)

  1. 2020 Guggenheim Fellows in Photography (here)
  2. Year in Review: Top 10 Highest Priced Photography Lots at Auction in 2019 (here)
  3. Year in Review: 2019 Photobook Review Statistics (here)
  4. Photography Highlights from the Armory Show 2020 (here)
  5. Photography Highlights from the ADAA Art Show 2020 (here)
  6. Year in Review: Most Read Reviews of 2019 (here)
  7. Auction Results: Photographs, March 24-April 3, 2020 (online) @Sotheby’s (here)
  8. A Short Note on Our Virus Plan (here)
  9. Auction Results: Photographies, November 10, 2020 @Christie’s Paris (here)
  10. Auction Results: Photographs (online), June 3, 2020 @Christie’s (here)

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