9 Contemporary Artists Set to Have a Buzzy 2019
The Wall Street Journal
by Laura Neilson
January 31, 2019
As fair season begins in earnest with Frieze Los Angeles, five art-world insiders predict who’ll have a talked-about 2019
With the contemporary art world long in the mode of expansion beyond the usual players—and with February’s Frieze Los Angeles set to bring the contemporary fair to the West Coast for the first time—major collectors and curators are feeling the pressure to find the next big thing. In excerpted interviews, five experts share who they think will be the most talked about:
Executive Director, Art Production Fund
The 34-year-old multimedia artist Sadie Barnette is riding a wave of momentum right now. A Studio Museum Harlem artist-in-residence alum known for her drawings, photography and other reworked compositions, Barnette has been awarded multiple grants and fellowships, while major institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Marciano Art Foundation now include her work in their permanent collections. The momentum will only build in 2019, starting with an exhibition at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.
Cultural Strategy Adviser, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Audemars Piguet and Art Basel
This year will be a very strong year for female artists and African-American artists, established elders such as the 103-year-old Carmen Herrera as well as AI-produced artworks, thanks to a recent $432,500 sale at Christie’s last year—the first of its kind. The market doesn’t really know how to embrace digital art yet, and so we’re seeing some higher values in that area.
Head Curator, Artsy
Belgian figurative painter Luc Tuymans is a longtime critical and market favorite but is still relatively unknown to the larger public. This should change this year, due to the international focus on his retrospective exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice—timed to coincide in part with this year’s Venice Biennale.
Prepare to get to know the work of Genesis Belanger and Gina Beavers, who will be the subjects of shows at the New Museum and MoMA PS1, respectively (Belanger’s show “Holding Pattern” opened at the New Museum earlier this month, while Beavers’s will debut in March).
Belanger participated in several group shows last year at venues such as the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and Reyes Projects. Her surreal porcelain and stoneware Dalí- and pop art–inspired sculptures of bananas, flowers, fruit and cigarettes will be shared everywhere.
Beavers’s thick acrylic transformations of digital, food-focused imagery (spreads of hot dogs, doughnuts, french fries and hamburgers) border on the grotesque, and command in-person attention.
Global Curator, The Cultivist
The American-born, Mexican-Colombian artist Harold Mendez has been a curatorial darling for quite some time, but he’s had a solid three years of museum exhibitions—including the 2017 Whitney Biennial and last year’s “Being: New Photography” show at MoMA—and in 2019 he’ll have a record year with several major shows, starting with a solo presentation at Mexico City’s Zona Maco art fair this February.
Through photography and sculptures that unearth and transform materials bearing traces of the past, Mendez (who is now L.A.-based) shows how the construction of history has silenced certain voices. His Mexican, Colombian and American background lends itself to a new narrative and mining of materials I haven’t seen before—one that pushes the boundaries of sculpture and photography into a truly contemporary realm.
Eduardo Sarabia is a Mexican-American artist whose work feels especially relevant given the current political climate. He was raised in Los Angeles by immigrant parents, but currently lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico, and his work—sculpture, ceramics, paintings and installations—primarily focuses on U.S.–Mexico border politics. His clever ceramic pieces, for example, resemble traditional Mexican Talavera pottery, only they’re actually emblazoned with iconography of violence, drug culture and other negative aspects of commerce, tourism and trade. His recent exhibitions in London and Antwerp all seem to indicate an expansion into a more international exhibition sphere.
Lawrence Van Hagen
Founder, LVH Art
One of Germany’s most iconic painters, 81-year-old Georg Baselitz is finally getting the recognition an artist of his caliber deserves for his neo- expressionist paintings. Starting with a retrospective exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, 2018 also marked solo shows at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in London and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Baselitz, who currently has a show at Gagosian West 24th Street, New York, will also be the first living artist to exhibit at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice during this year’s Venice Biennale. With the art market supporting more artists with long-standing presence, Baselitz is impossible to overlook.
The Bolivian-American artist Donna Huanca works across multiple disciplines—painting, videos, sculptures, live performances—and recently celebrated her solo exhibition at Belvedere museum in Vienna last year. She has steadily made a name for herself showing at top art fairs (Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze London) around the globe, while her work has also been acquired for some of the world’s most well-regarded private collections, including the Rubell Family Collection. I strongly believe she’ll be one of the most sought-after artists of our time, and in the near future.