The NGA’s collection spans what our mom calls “stuff that looks like real life” to the giant swaths of paint on canvas about which ignorant people say, “My kid could do that.” Also, there’s gelato.

No Way. Way!: We have a special place in our heart for the singeries, depictions of monkeys in human dress doing human activities. See them in the West Building’s French period rooms.

» National Gallery of Art, Fourth Street and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-737-4215. (Smithsonian)

» SECOND PLACE: National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F St., NW; 202-633-1000. (Gallery Place-Chinatown)

» THIRD PLACE: Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 888-639-7386. (Archives/Navy Memorial)

» Explore a full list of the year’s winners at the Best of 2010 index.

Photo by Gerald Martineau for the Washington Post