The same month, the Miami Art Museum opened "The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl," a groundbreaking celebration of the iconic musical medium and its transformative sway on several generations. It featured close to 100 works by 41 artists in a blockbuster ode to the record. The exhibit also adopted an intergenerational approach, seamlessly incorporating audio with visual riffs and pop culture chords.

In April at the Frost Art Museum, Ursula von Rydingsvard's sculpture solo delivered monumental works crafted from cedar and powdered graphite. Her show impressed with the inherent power of the pieces, many of which appeared like mammoth, ritual objects from antiquity or, in the case of Five Lace Medallions, pieces from a soaring archaeological site like Angkor Wat. These colossal tablets, roughly hewn from red cedar between 2001 and 2007, were crowned with serpentine carvings reminiscent of hand-stitched lace. They seemed to have been hijacked from an Indiana Jones movie.

The Bass Museum of Art ushered in another highlight with "Unnatural," a September group show featuring nearly 30 international artists exploring how our sense of the wilderness as a real, pristine place is fading into memory. The exhibit, curated by Tami Katz-Freiman, investigated the ethical dilemmas arising from humanity's need to dominate its environment. Our ever-faster technological advances leading to overpopulation and dwindling resources inspired Katz-Freiman to imagine a day when the artificial will completely replace nature. The artists she chose, most based in Israel, worked in a range of mediums to create their pieces, including the show stealer: a Moby Dick-size virtual whale swimming behind a massive sheet of glass.

That ingenious creature made a fine metaphor for Miami's local arts scene in 2012: an ever-growing behemoth assailed by change but increasingly resilient as time goes by.

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