Young Artists 2017

30 Young Artists to Watch in 2017

Cultured Magazine

From left: Caitlin Keogh, Jacolby Satterwhite, Valerie Keane, Rachel Rossin, Stewart Uoo, Alex Becerra, Andrew Ross, EJ Hill, Brian Kokoska, Tschabalala Self and Eric Mack. Portrait by François Dischinger, produced by Michael Reynolds.

We spent the summer refining and debating who should be included in our first-ever “30 Under 35” list. In order to narrow it down, we captured the country’s pulse by limiting our focus to its two culture capitals—Los Angeles and New York. Here, in alphabetical order, our names to watch in 2017, from Kelly Akashi to Stewart Uoo.

1. Kelly Akashi
The human body often shows up in Kelly Akashi’s sculptures, often unattached. Not quite unsettling, but messy nonetheless, Akashi’s materials are presented as a way of questioning the subjects they’re depicting. Her solo show at Ghebaly Gallery in L.A. runs through December 23, and she is preparing work for a group show at Antenna Space in Shanghai curated by Franklin Melendez.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

2. Alex Becerra
Alex Becerra has a brash but charming way about him. His paintings are equally conflicted. Developing a reputation as a provocateur, Becerra has earned comparisons to both Philip Guston and Mike Kelley for his animated brushwork and dark imagery. Treating Los Angeles as his laboratory, the recalcitrant artist is shaking up the city.


Portrait by Charlie Rubin.

3. Meriem Bennani
Meriem Bennani shot to the top of the radar last summer when she landed a solo show at MoMA PS1. Her room-swallowing installation served as a brilliant introduction into Bennani’s animation- and video-driven practice. Using humor to combine the personal and the universal, Bennani whisks the viewer into her world. This fall, she had the opportunity to expose her work to a new audience at the Shanghai Biennial.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

4. Lauren Davis Fisher
Lauren Davis Fisher’s sculptures seem bound to their location by time. Her recent Set Tests in the foyer of the Hammer Museum were constantly re- arranged during the Made in L.A. biennial, and her collaboration with Math Bass placed a wall from their shared living space into the gallery.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

5. Danielle Dean
Danielle Dean’s films may speak in the language of television soap operas and advertisements, but they end up providing clever critiques of culture sifted through her unique filter. She’s preparing to open a solo show in L.A. on January 22 at Commonwealth & Council.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

6. Brandon Drew Holmes
Brandon Drew Holmes’ artist books and performances are vital, critical readings of contemporary art and art history, breaking down a record of art world white supremacy. The L.A.- based Holmes is currently at work on three books—a fanfic about Kanye West, a manifesto and a diary from his year of living in L.A. that also serves as a critique on Bas Jan Ader’s “walking in L.A.” series.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

7. Awol Erizku
A recent L.A. transplant, Awol Erizku makes lush photographs that question art history’s gaze, paintings and readymades that capture the aesthetic language of the streets, and installations that encompass all those things. He’s currently at work on a new solo show, “I Was Going to Call It Your Name, But You Didn’t Let Me,” at Nina Johnson Gallery in Miami, opening November 28.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

8. Casey Jane Ellison
Casey Jane Ellison’s works in video and animation are not just funny but also incredibly poignant— she just happens to get that poignancy across with acerbic wit and charming narcissism. The L.A.-based artist recently showed a video work at the Sunday Art Fair in London with Lyles & King, and will “probably be in Miami” for Art Basel.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

9. EJ Hill
EJ Hill spent the majority of 2016 at the Studio Museum in Harlem for his Studio Visit residency. Coming into the program as an endurance performance artist, Hill used his body as well as his more material works as a starting point for a conversation about agency and its relationship to race. One assumes Hill will take a break after his rigorous performance schedule at the Studio Museum—perhaps why he’s heading back to L.A. this month—but it’s unlikely he’ll be out of commission for long.


Portrait by by Jorge Elbrecht.

10. Max Hooper Schneider
Max Hooper Schneider works with ecosystems (emphasis on the “systems”). His odd vitrines almost always have something strange in them (crocodile appendages, electric eels), and more often than not they harbor some inner secret. He is currently in the process of “acquiring an abandoned shopping mall in Ohio and setting parameters that allow it to be succeeded as a botanical garden/wildlife refuge.”


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

11. Cooper Jacoby
Cooper Jacoby works with the architecture around him, creating what looks like, at first, crisp metalworks and valuable material objects. But soon everything starts to feel a bit marred, which is just fine, because Jacoby’s work embraces the damage, often of his native L.A. He is currently on a residency in Miami where he’ll be researching at the National Corrosion Laboratory, which studies how materials degrade.


Portrait by Aubrey Mayer.

12. Jamian Juliano-Villani
Jamian Juliano-Villani’s biting wit and imagination sit on the surface of her seamless compositions. Deemed a “semi-skilled painter” by The New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl, Juliano- Villani produced work that stood out for its humor at the Whitney’s “Flatlands” show. During Frieze London, she unleashed her latest paintings at Studio Voltaire—the results were equally pleasurable.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

13. Valerie Keane
Acrylic is Valerie Keane’s medium of choice. Her dangling, inorganic sculptures bring to mind the abstract work of fiber artists like Françoise Grossen and Eva Hesse—that is, if they’d traded their ropes for wires and plastic. A standout at last spring’s Frieze New York, Keane also produced a solo show at High Art in Paris that was a hit of the fall.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

14. Caitlin Keogh
Artist Caitlin Keogh made headlines this fall for her solo debut at Bortolami. Keogh’s graphic canvases made made using a traditional sign painting technique that aligns her with artists like James Rosenquist, Patrick Caulfield and Tom Wesselmann. Darkly romantic, the images she composes often straddle multiple desires. Keogh’s technical ambition distinguishes her from her peers. Some of her gutsiest examples were on view at the Whitney Museum’s “Flatlands” exhibition.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

15. Brian Kokoska
Brian Kokoska likes to act on instinct. Repeating symbols and scenarios, he has developed a ritualistic approach to both his studio and exhibition practice. His solo shows are often monochromatic (well, at least the walls and floor). These extreme environments seem tailor- made to Kokoska’s figurative paintings, which often depict pastel monsters. This fall, Kokoska branched out a bit—painting the walls of his ASHES/ASHES solo show in alternating sherbet colors.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

16. Becky Kolsrud
L.A. artist Becky Kolsrud’s unsettling portraits, sometimes painted with security gates in the foreground, call to mind eras past, in which women played coy and suits were always tailored. At Art Basel Miami Beach, she’ll exhibit works in the Positions section with JTT Gallery, and is currently at work on a solo show at Tif Sigfrieds next spring.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

17. Guthrie Lonergan
Guthrie Lonergan’s sincere, digital artworks can be described in many ways, but the one thing that ties them together is their relationship to the Internet, and Lonergan’s uniquely qualified ability to harvest or bend it to do his bidding. His recent works in the Made in L.A. biennial at the Hammer Museum included his installing a talking yellow M&M on the exhibition’s homepage. A survey of his works is up at Honor Fraser in L.A. through December 17.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

18. Eric Mack
Eric Mack’s two-person show at Almine Rech in Paris put the artist in the spotlight this fall. His abstract sculptures, which he makes out of alternatively found and purchased materials, relate to the readymades of Isa Genzken but with the painterly impulse of a Julian Schnabel. The joy of Mack’s multimedia sculptures is their uncanny formal balance, which seems to give familiar objects renewed meanings. One marvels at the memories and association that a painted pistachio shell can set off.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

19. Orion Martin
Orion Martin’s playful paintings depict friends, fruit, well-hung mythical creatures and flora in a colorfully kitschy way that is also crispy and chic— all with a dose of humorous irreverence. The L.A.-based artist is currently working on paintings for Bodega’s booth at NADA Miami Beach.


Portrait by Charlie Rubin.

20. Sarah Meyohas
Artist and gallery owner Sarah Meyohas first gained traction in 2015 for Bitchcoin, a cryptocurrency she backed with her photography. The native New Yorker made substantial gains again in 2016, landing her first show at 303 Gallery, where she traded stocks from the gallery floor. Next up? A data-set project based on the 10,000 roses she dissected at the former Bell Labs complex in New Jersey.



Portrait by Charlie Rubin.

21. Sam Moyer
Sam Moyer is comfortable dealing with heavy materials. A Brooklyn-based artist who works with marble, canvas and metal, Moyer and her unwieldy sculptures conjure images of a Frank Stella/Michael Heizer hybrid. This fall, she joined Sean Kelly gallery, where we imagine monumental moves are already in the works.


Portrait by Nathan Perkel Ellis.

22. Margaux Ogden
After a recent burst of exhibitions—including a solo show at Embajada in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a group exhibition in Bushwick—Margaux Ogden is at work on a new series of her colorful, text- scrawled canvases. This fall, her book, “Flooded Penthouse,” published in collaboration with writer Hunter Braithwaite, was excerpted in the Paris Review.


Portrait by Charlie Rubin.

23. Bunny Rogers
Currently, Bunny Rogers studies at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, but occasionally the artist travels back to New York. Last spring, she made a splash with two solo shows at Greenspon and Bard College. At the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies, Rogers shared the stage with Cosmia von Bonin, a German sculptor with a complementary sensibility. With a book, “My Apologies Accepted,” and a museum solo show already under her belt, one can only assume more great things are in Rogers’ future.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

24. Andrew Ross
Andrew Ross is currently an adjunct professor at Bruce High Quality Foundation School, but when he’s not teaching he’s in his studio working on his playful sculptures. A Cooper Union graduate and Skowhegan fellow, Ross has quickly found an institutional audience for his conceptually driven work, first with the Drawing Center and then the Studio Museum in Harlem.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

25. Rachel Rossin
Rachel Rossin combines painting and virtual reality to create something deliciously disorienting. Rossin’s work first surfaced in 2015, when she was awarded a fellowship in virtual reality at the New Museum’s incubator, New Inc, but the artist has continued to maintain attention through her immersive environments. Her next projects include a solo show with Art in General in Riga, Latvia and a project with Artsy at Art Basel Miami Beach.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

26. Jacolby Satterwhite
The imagery in Jacolby Satterwhite’s work seems intuitive and fluid, yet the technical mediums the young artist uses are anything but. Often working with 3-D modeling and film, the artist creates immersive experiences that mesmerize. This year, his work appeared at the Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney as well as at the DIS-curated Berlin Biennale. Satterwhite is now working on pieces for New Museum and SFMOMA.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

27. Tschabalala Self
In October, Tschabalala Self opened her second solo show at Thierry Goldberg gallery—and it was notably more erotic than her first. Using the technique she established while studying at Yale, “Self” dove deeper into her exploration of the black female body through the lens of sex. The exhibition’s collaged fabric and paint work made an appearance in the Studio Museum’s “A Constellation” exhibition in 2015, and this year, the work popped up in key group shows curated by Ashton Cooper and Jamillah James.


Portrait by Charlie Rubin.

28. Diamond Stingily
Diamond Stingily is a Minimalist in the style of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster or Doris Salcedo: Her work uses simple, personal materials as an entry point for discussing life’s complexities. This year has been breakneck for Stingily; the artist mounted two solo shows, both of which were reviewed favorably. “Elephant Memory,” her show at Ramiken Crucible, teased out issues around racial violence that felt particularly poignant during this year’s election cycle.


Portrait by Jeff Vespa.

29. Christine Tien Wang
L.A.-based artist and activist Christine Tien Wang makes maddeningly pointed paintings and banners that serve as critiques of the state of American incarceration and income inequality. She recently closed a solo show at Night Gallery, and is preparing a solo exhibition set for January at Nagel Draxler in Berlin.


Portrait by Francois Dischinger.

30. Stewart Uoo
Stewart Uoo’s dystopian sculptures and videos offer a humorous take on contemporary issues. His breakout moment came in 2013 with a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This year, the artist received more institutional recognition with appearances in MoMA PS1’s “Greater New York” and “Human Interest: Portraits of the Whitney’s Collection.” What more could a Post-Internet provocateur want?