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Best of '09

What was the most memorable arts event of 2009? Were you blown away by Enron at the Royal Court? Did you love Lily Allen at Glastonbury? Was Antony Gormley's Fourth Plinth the defining cultural moment of the year? Or perhaps it was an unheralded gig or play in your local theatre which stole the show?

Here, Independent writers name some of their favourite cultural moments of the year.

In the comments form below or via email to arts@independent.co.uk nominate your favourite - in film, music, theatre, comedy, dance or visual arts - with a brief explanation as to why it tops your list and we'll print a selection in The Independent Readers' Review of 2009.
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When it comes to visual art, as the cliche goes, I'm no expert but I know what I like (and I like what I know); or, in the words of Monty Burns, "I'm no art critic but I know what I hate." Either way, I'm no expert but a regular enough gallery-goer, and what I really liked this year was the Ed Ruscha retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, looking at the American painter who has knocked out canvasses since the late '50s with his suitably cool gaze. Ruscha has been based in LA for most of his career - you can almost imagine him surveying the landscape impassively, squinting into the West Coast sun.

This brilliantly arranged show over a large series of rooms took us through the key stages of his career without overloading the audience - I still feel there is plenty more interesting Ruscha work to be discovered. I had previously seen "The End" (1991) at MOMA a few years ago but viewing it this time opposite "Exit" (1990) enhanced both, each dramatic painting playing on their cinematic themes.

In Ruscha's paintings pop art, abstraction, advertising and graphic design collide in a brilliant take on modernity and American culture. Words, slogans and ideas float through his canvass, some over mountains, others over painted colour schemes - reds, yellows, browns, blues - as if they're whirling around your head, half-remembered from a magazine ad or a billboard. Buildings appear sitting solitary as if seen while flying down a freeway or in a still from a film shot viewed on a big screen.

I can't always figure out what Ruscha is getting at but I like where he's going and I like what I see. The calm American's enigmatic, cool poses are damn addictive.

Tell us your favourite cultural moments of the year in the comments form below or email them to arts@independent.co.uk. We'll print the best in the paper.




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