2012 was indisputably an excellent year in art and design. Events in pop culture like the Olympics, the Presidential Election, Hurricane Sandy, and more brought many of the artists we've come to admire into the spotlight. This year, we also saw street art become more mainstream, artists continuing to align with brands and musicians, and increasingly controversial exhibitions. While it may be difficult to define what makes an artist "important" in any given year, we would argue that it's a combination of expanding one's work and influence while continuing to add to culture, especially when that reach goes beyond the art world itself.

Check out The 25 Most Important Artists of 2012 to see who killed it this year and who we'll definitely be keeping on our radar in 2013.

RELATED: The 25 Biggest Art Moments of 2012

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