The Year in Review: Best visual arts of 2010

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The Independent Culture

Christian Marclay: The Clock

White Cube Mason's Yard, London

Marclay's 24-hour film of time passing as depicted in cinema was a funny, thoughtful and immense work encompassing the rhythms of life and narrative. It was also a portrait of the last century, in which we were enraptured by the silver screen.

The British Art Show 7: In the Days of the CometNottingham Contemporary, then touring

The last five years in Britain have seen dramatic changes in art, and this exhibition of that period profiled works that are thoughtful and intelligent, seductive and absorbing. Becky Beasley, Haroon Mirza, Emily Wardill, Spartacus Chetwynd and Nathaniel Mellors typify a generation that examines our culture and hands it back to us, transformed.

Joan Mitchell

Inverleith House, Edinburgh

A heady exhibition inspired by nature in full bloom, this was a long overdue look at the late Joan Mitchell. The richness of the paintings was complemented by the gallery's location in Edinburgh's botanic gardens.

Unto this Last

Raven Row, London

An exploration of contemporary artists who place craft at the centre of their practice, whilst also creating conceptual or abstract work, this was a surprising show that could only have come from Raven Row. Featuring Alice Channer, Andrea Büttner and Bela Kolarova, it was a knockout of the gentlest kind.

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception

Tate Modern, London

Tate Modern's retrospective of Francis Alÿs was a moving, humane exhibition. In films, drawings, and paintings of tiny Arcadian dancing figures, Alÿs explored the fragility of political progress, hope and faith by moving sand dunes and running into tornados.