Investing in Art? Here Are 10 Young Artists to Watch in 2017
It hasn’t been a great year for young artists. Their market was already limping as 2016 began, and things didn’t get much better as the year ground onward. And while it could be argued that the dazzling boom and bust of a few 26-year-old white male skateboarders-cum-abstract-painters isn’t representative of thousands of other emerging artists, the spectacular market failure of that one, tiny group had a much broader cooling effect on the market: With collectors suddenly questioning the value of their not-insignificant investments (no matter how rich you are, watching your $100,000 painting go to $20,000 in a few months has to be unpleasant), a crisis of confidence resulted in some very good galleries going under.
And yet: That same uncertainty has begun to benefit artists and the art world more generally. Without the pressure on a $14,000 artwork to serve as an immediate investment vehicle, the art world has returned, at least partially, to the process of making and selling interesting, thought-provoking artworks.
The following 10 artists are both beneficiaries and catalysts of this phenomenon—they’ve shown in respected, forward-looking galleries and have been critically and commercially well received, but have maintained artistic practices that have avoided market hype and hysteria. The coming 2017 market might very well be their year.
Casteel, one of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s 2015-16 artists in residence, is known for her large-scale figurative paintings of black men. The paintings are tightly composed and evoke, with startling immediacy, the complexity of their subjects. Casteel’s work has struck a chord with audiences, and her career is beginning to take off. After two solo shows at the New York gallery Sargent’s Daughters, she's moved to the larger Casey Kaplan gallery and will soon have her first museum show at the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, N.C.
Rogers’ work has the earnest melancholia of adolescence. That in itself is immediately seductive, until you remember that Rogers hasn’t been an adolescent for close to a decade. Taken in context, then, her installations are nostalgic not only for the general feeling of adolescence, but also for its specific materials and emotional textures. She had a recent show at the Greenspon Gallery in New York, Columbine Cafeteria, which featured a stained-glass window, a video of a cartoon avatar playing Elliott Smith, fake snow falling, and many, many votive candles. It’s that mixture of dreaminess and interrogation that have earned her a small but growing group of devoted critics and collectors.
Lee’s multimedia art is often autobiographical, drawing inspiration and material from both the traumas and mundanities of her young life. She’s made a full-length film, Mommy, about the fallout of her mother’s unexpected death, which was screened at the Whitney Museum. Most recently her show Fufu’s Dreamhouse at the New York gallery Real Fine Arts was made up of a slightly unnerving series of “Jenny doll” dioramas that depicted the fragile, often stumbling process in which contemporary girls are expected to become women. Next she’ll be included in group shows at the T293 gallery in Naples and a group show at the Kunsthalle Zurich.
It’s easy to mistake Mrozowski’s art as purely decorative—his lush, leafy oils and clean acrylic oil-stick drawings have the clean, plush sheen of unchallenging art. Look more closely, though, and you’ll find that he’s playing with pattern, repetition, form, and color: His “pair” paintings, for instance, are in fact diptychs of one image in which each side has a different shape painted over. A solo exhibition of his work at the Arcade Gallery in London just closed; next year, he has another solo show planned at the Hannah Hoffman Gallery in Los Angeles.
Baremboym’s sculptures are resistant to interpretation. They integrate industrial materials, finely rendered casts of objects (fallopian tubes, ammunition), and often take the form of industrial assemblage. It’s a testament to Baremboym’s art, then, that since she graduated from Bard’s MFA program in 2009, her work, which interrogates form, utility, and production, has steadily gained traction in the art world. Next year she’ll show at La Panacée in Montpellier, France, and will have a sculpture on view as part of the Friends of the High Line public sculpture project.
It’s hard to turn paintings into sculptures, but Beavers’s relief-style paintings come close. The objects she paints—food, eyes, female torsos—are so heavily layered that they become three-dimensional, literally bursting from their frames. Beavers has had multiple solo shows since graduating from the school of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000, and next year she’ll be included in exhibitions at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery and the 1969 Gallery (the latter exhibition opened in November of this year). She will also have a solo show at the B. Carroll Reece Museum in Johnson City, Tenn.
It isn't easy to be simultaneously aesthetically pleasing and overtly political, but Lin manages to be both. In her recent show, You Are A Spacious Fluid Sac, in Los Angeles’s Ghebaly Gallery, Lin’s most prominent work was a giant fiberglass and papier mâché sculpture of an insect’s head, into whose mouth visitors could crawl and drink tea among pink fluffy rugs. It was a cross between a punchline and a trenchant commentary on the trappings of social and cultural directives, and the show was popular enough to garner Lin a series of gushing reviews. Next year, her work will be included in exhibitions at the Sculpture Center in New York and at Betonsalon in Paris.
Harlan installs massive corrugated pipes, colossal fences, and steel garage doors in fine art galleries in a practice that’s as much about institutional critique as it is about fetishizing ready-made objects. (You can be sure that a giant metal fence in an Upper East Side gallery in New York isn’t just about how great fences are.) Next year he’ll have solo shows at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery in Los Angeles and at the JTT Gallery in New York.
Ceccaldi, who was born in Canada, draws heavily on Japanese Manga style to create his art, which combines comics, paintings, and social critique. (Aside from paintings, he also creates full comic books and decorates clothes.) Ceccaldi is far from an unknown—his art was on the cover of Artforum magazine—and his work is slowly developing a market. Next year he’ll release his third self-published comic book, and his work will be included in a group show in the Simon Lee gallery in New York.
These lists always fetishize youth, but there’s something to be said for acknowledging artists who’ve had a slow, steady, and largely under-the-radar career for decades. Holly Coulis is the perfect example: She’s been showing her art since the late 1990s, but her practice was never swept up into the aforementioned market manias that inevitably destroyed artists’ careers. (A grand total of three of Coulis's works have ever appeared at auction, according to Artnet.) Instead, her paintings have beene enjoyed by a consistently understated crowd of knowing patrons. Currently, her large mural Dishes and Fruits is on view at the Atlanta Contemporary Gallery in Atlanta, Ga., and next year she’ll have solo shows at Cherry and Martin Gallery in Los Angeles and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in New York.