Saints, sinners, paint
• NATIONAL ANTHEM
Bostonian Joe Wardwell broke out this year with his paintings of bad-ass rock lyrics flaming across romantic Hudson River School–ish landscapes. As presented in "Seeing Songs" at the MFA and his "Die Young" solo show at LaMontagne Gallery, the idea was catchy, and the execution made you swoon. The canvases felt like album covers for the American Dream.