21st century

The 10 Best Artists of 2016

Piotr Policht 31 December 2016 min Read

There's no need for special introduction: here's a subjective list of the 10 most interesting artist that were active in last year. Enjoy! Cao Fei [caption id="attachment_3024" align="aligncenter" width="620"]cao-fei-cosplay-hello-kitty Cao Fei, "Hello Kitty", 2005, courtesy of Cao Fei[/caption] Who is China’s most interesting artist right now? Forget Ai Wei Wei. Cao Fei, creator of brilliant, dense and visually captivating works, with a touch of dream-like intercultural imagery to them, is the one to be excited about. Amalia Ulman [caption id="attachment_3025" align="aligncenter" width="620"]from-plastic-surgery-to-public-meltdowns-amalia-ulman-is-turning-instagram-into-performance-art-1414763082-1 Amalia Ulman, "Excellences & Perfections", photo from artist's Instagram[/caption] How to make contemporary feminist art? Just look at Ulman’s Instagram (plus her videos and performances too, you won’t be regretting). Kerry James Marshall [caption id="attachment_3026" align="aligncenter" width="620"]img0167web-fc45fc12d64f18fd62827 Kerry James Marshall, "Nude (Spotlight)'", 2009, Courtesy Defares Collection[/caption] If you think Beyonce's "Lemonade" is boldly exploring black identity, just look at Marshall’s uncompromising paintings. Helen Marten [caption id="attachment_3027" align="aligncenter" width="620"]marten Helen Marten, Still from "Orchids, or a Hemispherical Bottom", 2013 Courtesy of the artist; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Greene Naftali, New York; Johann Koenig, Berlin; and T293, Rome/Naples[/caption] Britain’s most hip sculptor, creator of mysterious and beautiful structures, winner of this year’s Turner Prize. Jordan Wolfson [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIWh3ethjK8[/embed] After mixing animation with real-life film footage in video works, Wolfson gained broad recognition thanks to his robotic, monumental, playful, grotesque, and a bit horrifying "Colored sculpture". Carmen Herrera [caption id="attachment_3028" align="aligncenter" width="620"]tumblr_of0a4zjygl1rg590io8_1280 Carmen Herrera in the studio. Photo courtesy by Camilo Fuenteable[/caption] Better late then never. Cuban American abstract painter turned 101 (!) and became finally widely appreciated for her plain but bursting with energy geometrical compositions. Long live, Mrs. Herrera! Omer Fast [caption id="attachment_3029" align="aligncenter" width="620"]B003 Omer Fast, still from "Continuity" (2012)[/caption] Israeli born, Germany based video artist keeps making captivating video works that blur reality and dream-like distortions in order to explore traumas and overlooked sides of everyday reality. Guerrilla Girls [caption id="attachment_3030" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum? 1989 Guerrilla Girls null Purchased 2003 https://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P78793 Guerrilla Girls, "Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum?", 1989, © courtesy www.guerrillagirls.com[/caption] Feminist collective comprised of anonymous women is active since the mid-80s, still highlighting institutional inequalities. Jon Rafman [caption id="attachment_3031" align="aligncenter" width="620"]d7hftxdivxxvm-cloudfront-net Jon Rafman, “View of Pariser Platz” (2016), installation view[/caption] Author of the brilliant series of works made using Google Street View (you can see it here, highly recommended) started working with VR. And it worked perfect. David Hockney [caption id="attachment_3032" align="aligncenter" width="620"]25b533a8f36e0c3dcfb8d47f1bf83389 David Hockney in front of new work Credit: David Hockney/ David Rose[/caption] We wrote about his latest show recently. Still moving forward, still creating great works, both grandeur and subtle.