Year in Review: Most Read Reviews of 2021

As is our custom here at Collector Daily, as we return to photography after the holiday break, we take a quick summarizing look back at the previous year. And while the pandemic continued to upend the timing of exhibitions and art fairs in 2021, some degree of balance was restored, at least in terms of our coverage. Photobooks remained our largest overall category, but their relative dominance was much less pronounced than in the previous lockdown year.

For those who like a statistical list, here are the reviews, articles, and essays that received the most reader traffic on Collector Daily in the past year, in ranked order by subject. To be clear, these are not our editorial choices for some measure of “best” or “most important”, but simply the sums of the raw viewership data drawn from our analytics software. It is certainly true that living artists do a better job of sharing reviews on social media than dead ones, and that some galleries, museums, and publishers are more active in pushing reviews out to their lists than others, so what the data reveals is likely slanted by these differences. Even with these skews, 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.

Photobooks (drawn from a total of 108 reviews)

  1. Cammie Toloui, 5 Dollars for 3 Minutes (here)
  2. Stephen Gill, Please Notify the Sun (here)
  3. Jim Goldberg, Fingerprint (here)
  4. Claudio Pogo, Claudio Pogo’s Guide (here)
  5. Mikko Kerttula, Transcendence (here)
  6. Paul McDonough, Headed West (here)
  7. Melissa O’Shaughnessy, Perfect Strangers (here)
  8. John Yuyi, Airplane Mode (here)
  9. Richard Rothman, Town of C (here)
  10. Raymond Meeks, Somersault (here)

Museums and Galleries (drawn from a total of 84 reviews)

  1. Justine Kurland, SCUMB Manifesto @Higher Pictures Generation (here)
  2. Sheila Pinkel, Pinkelgraphs: The Murals and Cyanotypes, 1974-1982 @Higher Pictures Generation (here)
  3. The Hugo Boss Prize 2020: Deana Lawson, Centropy @Guggenheim (here)
  4. But Still, It Turns @ICP (here)
  5. We Wear the Mask @Higher Pictures Generation (here)
  6. Tracking @Janet Borden (here)
  7. Irving Penn: Photographism @Pace (here)
  8. Nan Goldin, Memory Lost @Marian Goodman (here)
  9. Pictures, Revisited @Met (here)
  10. Dawoud Bey: An American Project @Whitney (here)

Art Fairs, Auctions, and Opinions (drawn from a total of 81 auction results, fair reports, and essays)

  1. 2021 Guggenheim Fellows in Photography (here)
  2. Year in Review: Top 10 Highest Priced Photography Lots at Auction in 2020 (here)
  3. Photography Highlights from Paris Photo 2021, Part 1 of 5 (here)
  4. Photography Highlights from the 2021 Armory Show (here)
  5. Photography Highlights from the 2021 Frieze New York Art Fair (here)
  6. Photography Highlights from Paris Photo 2021, Part 5 of 5 (here)
  7. Auction Results: Photographs, April 8, 2021 @Phillips (here)
  8. Photography Highlights from Paris Photo 2021, Part 2 of 5 (here)
  9. Auction Results: Fine Photographs, March 11, 2021 @Swann (here)
  10. Photography Highlights from Paris Photo 2021, Part 4 of 5 (here)

For historical context, the most read reviews from prior years can be found here (2020),  here (2019), here (2018), here (2017), and here (2016).

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