What have been your biggest art stories of the past 12 months? Picking just ten was difficult.
In a year that saw London show off the best of British culture to the world (alongside some sort of sporting occasion), it would have been possible to compile this end of year list purely out events that took place in the capital.
But, of course, that would mean neglecting to mention such jaw-dropped events as the most-expensive-painting-ever selling in New York, or a certain Chinese artist reworking Gangnam Style on YouTube.
So, from the triumphant to the saddening to the plain absurd, here are our ten biggest art moments of 2012. Any you think we've missed off?
David Hockney's big picture
In January, London's year of blockbuster art shows got underway with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/01/17/david-hockney-a-bigger-picture-review_n_1210403.html">David Hockney: A Bigger Picture</a>. The result of several years sat painting his beloved Yorkshire countryside, the show was a huge hit - and introduced the world to the possibilities of creating beautiful landscapes using an iPad…
Farewell to Freud
Had Freud survived to witness his solo show at the National Portrait Gallery, it would still have been one of the major art events of the year. But the fact he died in 2011 - after being involved in planning the show from the beginning - gave <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/07/lucian-freud-portraits-review_n_1260133.html">Lucian Freud Portraits</a> an undeniable poignancy: a reminder both of his brilliance and the sad fact we have seen all we ever will from one of the great British painters of the past century.
In May, the most famous painting in the world got a little bit more famous. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/03/edvard-munchs-the-scream-_n_1473129.html">Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ sold at auction</a> to an unknown bidder for a cool $119.9m (£74m) - making it the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. Not bad for the middle of a global economic downturn.
RIP Robert Hughes
In August, the art world lost one of its most revered – and feared – critics. The famously acerbic Australian <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/07/robert-hughes-death_n_1750287.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">Robert Hughes died in New York after a long illness</a>, aged 74. He was best loved for his 1980 TV series Shock Of The New (and the book that accompanied it), which was praised for offering an accessible and witty guide to modern art.
Hirst breaks a record (that isn't about money)
463,087. That’s the amount of people who visited the Tate Modern between April and early September this year to see Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull, formaldehyde farm animals and fluttering butterflies – making his exhibition <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/18/damien-hirst-tate-modern-most-popular_n_1892468.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">the most successful solo show in the gallery’s history</a>. With only 4079 more (which, at a rate of 3000 visitors a day, wouldn’t have taken long) Hirst would have topped Matisse and Picasso to become the Modern’s most popular exhibition full stop - a thought that would have most <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/02/damien-hirst-tate-modern-review_n_1396315.html?utm_hp_ref=art-review">art critics crying into their cravats.</a>
The Golden summer
This summer, as the capital swelled with pride over the above-average performance of our Olympic athletes, London also put in a gold standard performance in a far more familiar field of British excellence: culture. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/30/london-2012-festival-visitor-figures_n_2042878.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">The London 2012 Festival enticed 16.5 million visitors</a> to over to 621 productions and projects that were made up of 13,006 performances across events at 1,270 venues across the UK. The festival even left behind 176 permanent artworks. All in all, it sounds like £63 million well spent. Doesn’t it?
Sadly, not all of 2012’s big art moments were positive. In October, a man named <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/08/vladimir-umanets-tate-modern-mark-rothko-vandal_n_1947409.html">Vladimir Umanets walked into the Tate Modern and wrote his name over a valuable Mark Rothko painting</a>. Arrested soon afterwards, the 27-year-old Pole defended the stunt as an act of ‘Yellowism’ – an incoherent art ‘movement’ he described as "…not art, and not anti-art. It's an element of contemporary visual culture.” It made a lot of headlines, if <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sam-parker/rothko-vandalism-the-cowardly-folly-of-art_b_1947794.html">very little sense</a>.
Weiwei goes Gangnam
The latest viral pop video would normally be the last thing a serious artist would look to for inspiration – but in the hands of Chinese dissident <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/24/ai-weiwei-gangnam-style_n_2009921.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">Ai Weiwei, ‘Gangnam Style’</a> offering a perfect opportunity to show the world he can poke fun at himself - as well as his country’s dubious censorship laws. Thus, the most entertaining (and unlikely) art video of the 2012 was born, with the man once described as the most powerful artist in the world leaping around on an imaginary horse.
Old 'Flo must go
In the background to all of to 2012's cultural successes, the dark cloud of art cuts has been gathering. In November the effect that David Cameron's austerity drive will have on the arts was brought into sharp focus when, in an effort to claw back funds lost in budget cuts, Tower Hamlets council announced they were s<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/08/henry-moore-sculpture-sold-london_n_2091431.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">elling off Henry Moore's sculpture Draped Seated Woman (or 'Old Flo')</a>.
A Turner triumph
The Turner Prize occurs annually, but 2012 was a significant year in its history - and for all the right reasons. From a shortlist that included drawings of excrement (that actually had a lot of merit) and performance art from a woman called Spartacus (that had less so), the eventual <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/03/elizabeth-price-turner-prize-winner-2012_n_2233334.html">winner was Elizabeth Price</a>, a video artist of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/01/turner-prize-2012-review_n_1928694.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-arts">genuine vision and excellence</a>. As in 2011, the Turner became a by-word not for ‘daft modern art’ but the cutting edge of contemporary modern art. Let’s hope 2013 can make it a hat trick.