December was a fitting end to a momentous 2009 as visually addicting goodies kept us busy around the world. The staff from AM wraps up the last month of 2009 with a loaded edition of Second Helpings to revisit some of the best articles from the month. Get served after the jump.

Sleepboy recommends:

1) Faile Studio Visit

It’s not often that anyone gets a glimpse into the Faile studio so we were honored to get a look at their current and future projects. Take a look back at our visit to the Patricks’ workspace and look forward to a couple more exciting shows in the early part of this year. Also, take a look at their awesome display at the Perry Rubenstein booth at Art Basel.

2) Chris Berens – “The Only Living Boy in New York” @ Sloan Fine Art

His soft focus effects and detail make it hard to believe all of Berens’ work is hand-painted, but amazingly, it is. Make sure you stop by the show at Sloan Fine Art if you have the chance and check out the new body of work and see his special technique for yourself.

3) Art Basel Week Miami 2009

What an amazing experience this year’s Art Basel was! Not only was the art awesome (as evidenced by the Mark Ryden piece above), meeting fellow collectors, gallery staff, artists, and bloggers was one of the most rewarding part of the week. Take a look at our extensive coverage here, and expect us there again for 2010.

Khoi recommends:

1) Basel Week Miami ‘09 – Rubell Family Collection – “Beg Borrow and Steal”

The Rubells flexed their impressive collecting muscle and brought out pieces in their vault that represent appropriation in art. From Richard Prince to Shepard Fairey (featured), this aspect of creative expression is widely utilized today by many artists, but not yet well understood. Hopefully, this exhibition does enough to spur education and debate on the use of appropriation.

2) Basel Week Miami ‘09: Barry McGee Installation @ Deitch

The best piece of art this year at Basel Miami by a street artist – this spectacular bottle installation by Barry McGee wowed fair0goers, many of whom stood and stared at it for awhile, taking in each individual bottle and it’s fantastic detail. Coupled with his Wynwood Walls installation, McGee successfully conquered both the inside and the outside in Miami.

3) Basel Week Miami ‘09 – Dan Attoe @ Peres Projects and Basel Week Miami ‘09 – Dana Schutz @ Zach Feuer Gallery (LFL)

Many galleries had showings for individual artists in their booth at Basel, but the Dan Attoe exhibition at Peres Projects and Dana Schutz at Zach Feuer Gallery two were of the best and most impressive. Peres Projects created a vibrant, glowing space, while Zach Feuer Gallery had fair attendees rushing to their location in the hopes of scoring a very hard to get Schutz painting.

Juggernut3 recommends:

1) Openings: Audrey Kawasaki – “Hajimari – a prelude” @ Jonathan Levine Gallery

Just set them up and she’ll knock them down. Chalk up another sold out show for Audrey Kawasaki (interviewed). Audrey brings the gusto with a top notch showing at Jonathan LeVine. This latest body of work dazzled the folks of New York with grace and gravity, showing us that her talent and dedication to her craft is something that shines brightly in even this recessionary environment.

2) Art Basel Week Miami 2009

December was anchored by the grand-mama art fair of the western hemisphere. Testing the AM team by stretching us thin from the moment we landed in Miami to the moment we rushed to catch our planes, Art Basel Week is a monster that will dazzle and tame any art fan. From mainstays such as Hideaki Kawashima (above and here) and Alexander Calder (here) to newly discovered gems like Misa Inaoka (here) and Laura Ball (here), there was plenty of art to satisfy almost every type of enthusiast that made time for this week long extravaganza.

3) Studio Visit: Ian Francis

Not much to say that isn’t already shown in this awesome studio visit to one of our favorite artists. If a picture is a thousand words then Ian is a library in the visual world. We keep finding ourselves revisiting this article just to gaze at his brilliance.

Ken recommends:

1) Art Basel’s street and site specific outdoor murals.

In addition of the many wonderful booths and installations at this year’s Art Basel, I was equally impressed to see the overwhelmingly large number of outdoor murals taking place on the streets of Miami’s Wynwood district.  With impressive turnouts at Deitch’s Wynwood Walls as well as Logan Hicks’ and Books’ Primary Flight, Miami truly brought out some all-star talent this year.  As an added bonus, the sheer creativity flowing through the streets of Wynwood (also enjoyed by Martha Cooper – seen above) led to some interesting and spontaneous works, most notably with the enigmatic TrustoCorp.

2) Travis Louie – “Lifetime Companions” at the Shooting Gallery

Travis Louie’s latest show, “Lifetime Companions” debuted this December at San Francisco’s Shooting Gallery.  In this show, Travis expanded on his character’s narratives, providing a more fascinating and compelling look into their lives and past.  Perfectly rendered, wonderfully framed, nicely priced and amazingly well realized, “Lifetime Companions” was the highlight show last month to hit the Bay Area.

3) Banksy – Camden

December also saw a new series of brilliant and original works by Banksy, this time all located in Camden, near Regent’s Canal.  Not only did this new body of work include site specific commentary and master stenciling skills, the dialogue that arose between the Bristol Bomber and old school graf artist Robbo was one born and executed with a playful and imaginative correspondence, a rare and refreshing outcome in the too often testosterone and ego driven world of graffiti.