Who are the most influential artists of the moment?
Although contemporary art is still perceived distanced from the general public, there are names that are successful, create debates and with their works reach record figures at auction.
Here’s who are the most famous artists of the moment.
Born in 1967. Lives and works in Copenhagen and Berlin.
“Devices for experiencing reality” in this way Olafur Eliasson defines his works, conceived to produce greater awareness of how we interact and interpret the world. His works are the result of rigorous scientific studies, supported by constant research dedicated to plumbing the universe of human sensations and investigating the urgencies of our present, such as sustainability and climate change. Olafur Eliasson’s artistic research ranges from sculpture, painting, photography, films and installations, also involving the widest public sphere through architectural projects, interventions in the public space, artistic education. On the occasion of the next Milan Art Week, Fondazione Trussardi will present The collectivity project, the latest participatory installation curated by Massimiliano Gioni.
Born in 1973. Lives and works in Berlin
Tomàs Saraceno is one of the most visionary contemporary artists, whose research combines art, natural and social sciences. Saraceno’s art is a highly multifaceted, creative and focused on the present. The artist creates aerial and interactive installations, which depict parallel and utopian worlds, in which nature and society harmonize and respect each other. His works underline how much man is part of an ecosystem that needs more attention, care and protection on our part. Until July 2020 Palazzo Strozzi will present “Tomás Saraceno. Aria”, a major exhibition dedicated to the artist, curated by Arturo Galansino.
Born in 1974. Lives and works in New York.
Brian Donnelly known as Kaws is one of the most requested and highly rated artists and designers of the moment. After graffiti and illustrations, Kaws approached sculpture, shaping figures that have become icons of pop culture. BFF and Companion have become true symbols of the Z generation, enough to attract the attention of numerous fashion brands (such as Uniqlo, Nike, Supreme, Vans…), with which Kaws boasts prestigious collaborations. Between July 2016 and June 2017, Kaws was one of the artists who sold the most – over $ 6 million in revenue. As Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s Senior Director, told Esquire UK: “Kaws is perfectly positioned between high-level art, street culture and the mass market”. Maybe that’s why everyone really likes it.
Born in 1953. Lives and works in New York.
Nan Goldin is one of the most famous photographers in the art system. After becoming famous in the 80s thanks to the intimate photographs depicting herself and her friends, with her works Nan Goldin was able to grasp the transgressive and hidden part of everyday life with an introspective and emotional approach. Goldin’s photographs, investigating the private dimension of the human being, can be considered as anticipating the era of social media and in particular of Instagram, the channel where the photographer has hit it big since her subscription in December 2017.
Born in 1973. Lives and works in Chicago.
The first European retrospective dedicated to Michael Rakowitz, the Iraqi-American artist who won the prestigious Nasher 2020 prize, recently ended at the Castello di Rivoli. Michael Rakowitz creates sculptures, drawings, installations, videos, as well as collaborative and performative projects. In over twenty years of his career, Rakowitz has created works inspired by architecture, archeology, cuisine and geopolitics from ancient times to today. Particularly sensitive to human suffering, Michael Rakowitz narrates the great historical transformations caused by wars and other traumas, denouncing the contradictions of globalization. Multifaceted artist, devoted to making the invisible visible, Rakowitz bases his artistic practice on the relationship between Art and History, denouncing the contradictions, parallels and meeting points.
Born in 1929, he lives and works in Tokyo.
Yayoi Kusama is surely one of the most celebrated and loved artists on the planet. Despite his 80-year career, the Japanese artist does not seem to want to retire. His psychedelic and chameleon-like art continues to fascinate the whole world, both for its expressive force and for its history and its legitimacy. In fact, since childhood, Yayoi Kusama has been afflicted by a neuropsychiatric disease that leads her to isolate herself from the world around her to repeat the same gesture over and over again. In this sense, Kusama has developed, through her art, an investigation into the point, or polka dot, which she herself defines “a way to infinity”. The point becomes, therefore, his trademark, reproduced on the paintings, sculptures and even in his rooms of wonders, the Infinity Mirrored Room, recently presented by David Zwirner in New York.
Born in 1955, he lives and works in New York.
Jeff Koons perfectly exemplifies the model of the superstar artist contested by collectors and known to the general public, thanks to his neo pop style creations that combine original shapes and bright colors. Jeff Koons’ visual vocabulary is drawn from the world of advertising and industry; he sets his work on topics such as consumerism, sexuality, kitsch and childhood. With his works Jeff Koons seems to close the gap between high culture and popular culture: this is why Koons is considered one of the prominent characters of 21st century art.
Born in 1965, he lives and works in London.
Damien Hirst is the contemporary artist that everyone knows for better or for worse. Since the 90s Damien Hirst has been the true bad boy of contemporary art, irreverent and provocative through his works. Horror, physical shock and the spectacularization of animal bodies: Hirst’s works examine the meaning of existence and the ways in which men try to exorcise the fear of death. Damien Hirst is the artist who plays alone: the 2008 episode was famous when Hirst presented at Sotheby’s auction almost 300 works, taking home a sale result of 111 million pounds (plus over 2 million pounds given to charity), excluding its historic merchant Jay Jopling and the Gagosian gallery.
Born in 1960, he lives and works between Milan and New York.
Irreverent and provocative, Maurizio Cattelan is certainly the most famous Italian artist in the world today. His works, which take shape from objects and people of the real world, are the result of an irreverent operation towards art and institutions. Crazy, brilliant, ridiculous: for over thirty years Cattelan has continued to be talked about. Lastly, how can we forget the famous “Cattelan Banana”, stuck with scotch on a wall of Art Basel in Miami and sold for $ 120,000. Or the theft of “America“, an 18-karat gold-coated toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace in Woodstock in Oxfordshire. Despite having announced his retirement and decreed his death, complete with a plaque, today Cattelan is more alive than ever.