Volume V3N3, p. 115
The ArtReview 25: Emerging US Artists
By Daniel Kunitz and João Ribas
No one who watches the goings-on of the art world needs to be told about the recent explosion of interest in young (or new) artists. But most of us would like a guide to the best emerging art being made. To that end, ArtReview last summer produced the latest in an ongoing series of supplements offering our pick of the top MA graduates from London’s art colleges. Building on the success of that effort, we here offer our list of the most promising 25 emerging artists in the United States. Not the top art-school graduates, since graduate art programs are far too dispersed in America to make that sort of selection feasible – but an introduction to the finest young working artists whom you’ve probably never heard of.
Most of the artists here are under 30 and have had no more than one New York solo show – these were the baseline criteria with which we began and from which we allowed ourselves to swerve whenever a particular artist’s work seemed to merit inclusion yet didn’t quite fit the strictures. So, one or two of the artists here are in their thirties, and a few have had more than one solo show Then again, several of these artists have as yet no gallery representation. Ultimately our aim was to put before the public the best young artists whose work would be unfamiliar to the majority of readers and viewers, work indicative of the full spectrum of emerging art in the US. Nevertheless, it is important to note that we looked at hundreds of artworks rather than artists, and therefore we cannot, even at this late stage, quantify these artists by gender, race, or what they eat for breakfast.
Not surprisingly, we found a lot of strong painting and drawing and, to a lesser degree, outstanding examples of video art, sculpture and installation, as well as a thriving photographic practice. What we noticed, however, is that young artists today hesitate to define themselves by genre, mode, or medium. One might shoot photographs and videos, like Laurel Nakadate, or, as in the case of Kambui Olujimi, simply let creative energy dictate its own course. Because artists in the US tend to congregate in New York and Los Angeles, the majority of those presented here work in one of those cities, but we have included artists from other parts of the country too. Obviously the US contains thousands of artists who might be thought both worthy and emerging, and we were certainly not able to visit all of them – although we certainly wanted to. Without a doubt, others will lament the exclusion of their favorites or will question some of our choices. Still, we feel such debates are the point of this list: to begin the discussion, not to cut it off, and with this kind of emerging talent, there is plenty to talk about.
From 10 to 24 March, you can see this emerging talent for yourself at an exhibition held in association with Phillips de Pury & Company at their New York gallery on West 15th Street. Our thanks go to all at Phillips de Pury who have worked so hard to make this possible.
Daniel Kunitz and João Ribas
LA-based painter Tomory Dodge left the California Institute of the Arts in 2004 and, shortly after his thesis exhibition, was given solo shows at Acme in LA and Taxter & Spengemann in New York. One of the few young artists working today for whom discrete marks and the materiality of paint count for almost as much as subject matter, Dodge is nevertheless no throwback to an earlier era.
The quasi-suburban environments he depicts – a ‘dead’ mall, an empty swimming pool, a creek bank after a party – are not chosen to show off his emotional range. They serve as social commentary, although it’s not clear that they exist in the real world at all.
‘My work is often overtly painterly. However, I try to avoid involvement in the kind of expressionistic excess that often accompanies such approaches to the medium. I feel that, in my case, the broad brush strokes and blatant use of paint’s materiality threaten to overwhelm the representational aspects of the work, creating a strange and often disorienting middle-ground between representation and abstraction. This liminal quality is further echoed in my choice of subject matter, which often depicts collisions between nature and culture or fantastic sites that seem located on the very edge of society’s reach.’