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It was a season of can't-miss shows, starting with Jasper Johns's targets.

By Blake Gopnik
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 30, 2007

1. "Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Painting, 1955-1965," at the National Gallery of Art, Jan. 28 through April 29. A unique chance to get close to the hugely influential American artist. By looking at just his first 10 years, the show let us watch him push back against the dominant abstraction.

2. "Wolfgang Tillmans" at the Hirshhorn Museum, May 10 through Aug. 12. The slacker photographs of Wolfgang Tillmans feel like some of the most important, challenging art being made today. No one seems to know quite why. That helps prove they're breaking ground.

3. "Desiderio da Settignano: Sculptor of Renaissance Florence," at the National Gallery of Art, July 1 through Oct. 8. The sleeper of the year. This exhibition of a neglected sculptor from 15th-century Florence seemed to win the heart of absolutely everyone who saw it. The show was small, but that only concentrated its energies.

4. "J.M.W. Turner," at the National Gallery of Art, Oct. 1 through Jan. 6, 2008: A full-scale survey of Britain's greatest painter showed all the very different ways in which he achieved greatness.

5. "Déjà Vu? Revealing Repetition in French Masterpieces," at the Walters Art Museum Oct. 7 to Jan. 1, 2008: Why did so many artists in 19th-century France paint the same picture again and again? A difficult, ambitious question, and just the kind of thing any first-rate exhibition should be taking on.

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