We were beset by influencers, grifters, and triggers. We worried about the Anthropocene, gentrification, the blockchain, and free speech. We occupied and decolonized. We canceled. There are many ways to take stock of the decade, and before this one slips away, we look back at the terminology that defined the era. This glossary includes new words that came into common usage over the past ten years (like “precariat”) as well as old ones that took on new meanings during that time (like “curate”).
The keywords of the 2010s offer insights about what mattered to artists, critics, curators, and scholars. Or at least future historians might be able to shift through the contradictory impulses embedded in this vocabulary to take stock of a decade in which we felt ourselves lurching from crisis to crisis even as we erected luxurious vessels to house our art and immersed ourselves in 3D entertainment.