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West Side Galleries Explored Global Issues in 2010

By DNAinfo Staff on December 29, 2010 6:42am  | Updated on December 29, 2010 12:45pm

By Tara Kyle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — At exhibits across Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen this year, gallery directors presented art with the potential to help viewers understand international conflicts as far away Haiti and Iran, as well as domestic conflict as close as the fight over Facebook.

Local art galleries put the entire world on display, with "Saving Grace: A Celebration of Haitian Art," at Hell's Kitchen's Affirmation Arts gallery, which shows folk-art masterpieces from the 1940s hung alongside pieces shattered — and painstakingly restored — in the aftermath of the earthquake.

The School of Visual Arts featured posters supporting Iran's Green Movement, created by top graphic artists from around the world, including Milton Glaser, of "I Love New York" logo fame.

In the months leading up to the anniversary of 9/11, the Stefan Stux Gallery offered a collection of works celebrating the creative energy of the modern Middle East.

Obsessions closer to home also made their presence felt within the art scene.

Chelsea exhibits tackling today's culture of voyeurism included the Benrimon Contemporary's show "Younger than Moses," which featured a large oil painting of a "Facebook pill."

Meanwhile, the Skylight Gallery offered a mixed-media examination of private and personal investigations.

Finally, amid lingering economic unease, many shows offered an escape into the past.

SVA, originally founded as a school for cartoonists, offered a look back on 30 years of contributions to the new medium of graphic novels.

And at the Robert Mann Gallery, artist Wijnanda Deroo's photos captured a few iconic restaurants not long before they closed their doors forever.

At the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, an exhibit called "You are Here: Mapping the Psychogeography of New York" examined the need to find a sense of belonging in a mixed-up environment.

"Particularly in these times, we're just trying to orient ourselves in an increasingly complex and overwhelming world," guest curator Katharine Harmon said of the exhibit.

People's desire to track their coordinates on a map — or, for that matter, announce their locations via Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare — is "a way of grappling with the notion of being lost and found," Harmon said.

Click on story's the slideshow to see some of DNAinfo's favorite art images from the past year.