10 Exceptional Millennial Artists to Watch in 2016

They address the concerns of their generation in remarkable and imaginative ways.

Hector Arce-Espasas (2016). Courtesy of the artist.
Hector Arce-Espasas (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Evelyn Yard Gallery.

For our latest lineup of exceptional millennials to watch, artnet News is casting a light on a group of artists whose critically-engaged output have been given the institutional spotlights they deserve this year. Together, the cohort of artists below addresses the concerns of a generation in remarkable and imaginative ways.

Installation view of Julian Charrière's show at Sean Kelly Gallery (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery.

Installation view of Julian Charrière’s show at Sean Kelly Gallery (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery.

1. Julian Charrière, b. 1987
To borrow from the Guardian‘s Laura Cumming, artist Julian Charrière “brings back news from nowhere, returning with the very essence of the wild places he has travelled.” Between excursions to Soviet nuclear test sites, and even a trip to Chernobyl, the interdisciplinary Swiss artist’s risk-taking ventures yield fascinating results. At present, the artist is currently holding his first New York City solo exhibition at Sean Kelly gallery, which runs through October 22.

Doreen Garner, Pearl Necklace (2016). Courtesy of the artist.

Doreen Garner, Pearl Necklace (2016). Courtesy of the artist.

2. Doreen Garner, b. 1987
Doreen Garner’s sculptures, all invariably lessons in abject art—are the results of her explorations of power, violence, and beauty. As she wrote in a photo essay for BOMB Magazine last year: “I identify, extract, and exploit the tissues that bind the sexual and the grotesque.” With exhibitions at VOLTA, a residency at Pioneer Works, and a current show at Essex Flowers in the Lower East Side, the artist has been gaining attention for the visual and psychological impact of her work.

Meriem Bennani, Still from Fly (2016). Courtesy of MoMA PS1.

Meriem Bennani, Still from Fly (2016). Courtesy of MoMA PS1.

3. Meriem Bennani, b. 1988
The post-internet artist made a splash at MoMA PS1 this summer with an exhibition titled “FLY.” The artist, who hails from Morocco, creates complex visual narratives that play on the boundaries between the real and the virtual. As she told Paper Magazine earlier this year: “I just like playing with reality. Maybe it’s a power thing. I start with a joke, and I feel like when you live in the city, you can create all these narratives because there are so many people around.”

Hector Arce-Espasas (2016). Courtesy of the artist.

Hector Arce-Espasas (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Evelyn Yard Gallery.

4. Hector Arce-Espasas, b. 1982
New York-based artist Héctor Arce-Espasas was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In a delightfully subversive manner, the artist employs symbols of paradise, like overflowing containers of fruit, and pairs these objects with sexually provocative busts to deliver critiques on exploitation. This year, Arce-Espasas held a solo exhibition of his latest sculptures and paintings at Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York.

Jordan Casteel, Crockett Brothers (2015). Courtesy of the artist.

Jordan Casteel, Crockett Brothers (2015). Courtesy of the artist.

5.  Jordan Casteel, b. 1989
The young artist is known for depicting black male subjects at ease in domestic scenes, and her style is reminiscent of the work of Alice Neel, Martin Wong, and Nicole Eisenman. Her residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem culminated in a highly-anticipated show this summer. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

6. Ariel Jackson, b. 1991
In the style of Afro-futurism, Ariel Jackson juxtaposes relics from the past with possibilities of the future. Such examples of this include “The Origin of the Blues,” a multi-media video she presented at the Studio Museum in Harlem earlier this year. Those looking to see her work for themselves may want to consider a trip to Wave Hill in the Bronx, where her installation is currently on view through October 23.

7. Lawrence Abu Hamdan, b. 1985
Based in Beirut-Lebanon, Lawerence Abu Hamdan has taken his investigation into urban surveillance into the realm of sound art. As artnet News’s Alyssa Buffenstein notes, Abu Hamdan “dedicates his work to Forensic Listening: ways in which the voice can affect legal testimonies, specifically in the realm of border control.” If his work looks familiar, you may have caught his installation at the Liverpool Biennial this year, or his talk at Frieze New York.

8. Madeline Hollander, b. 1986
Movement lies at the heart of Madeline Hollander’s creative projects. The artist first landed on our radar in a group exhibition she participated in at New York’s SculptureCenter in 2015, and you can catch her ongoing durational performance, titled, “Drill” at Signal gallery in Bushwick until October 2.

Renaud Jerez, <em>When Tania arrived at home</em> (2016). Courtesy of the artist via Galerie Crevecoeur.

Renaud Jerez, When Tania arrived at home (2016). Courtesy of the artist via Galerie Crevecoeur.

9. Renaud Jerez, b. 1982
The ICA Miami, which is currently holding the artist’s debut solo exhibition in the United States, characterizes his works as “innovative, anthropomorphic, and apocalyptic.” Jerez belongs to a cohort of emerging French artists that counts Julien Carreyn and Louise Sartor among its members—both of whom, coincidentally, are also represented by Galerie Crèvecoeur in Paris.

Simon Denny, <em>installation view of Blockchain Future States</em> (2016). Courtesy of the artist via Friedrich Petzel Gallery.

Simon Denny, installation view of Blockchain Future States (2016). Courtesy of the artist via Friedrich Petzel Gallery.

10. Simon Denny, b. 1982
The New Zealand artist has been riding a wave in New York since his big splash at MoMA PS1 last year, and with new works currently on view at Petzel gallery in Chelsea, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Known for installations that scrutinize the practices of powerful technology companies, the Auckland-born, Berlin-based artist has shown at the Serpentine Gallery in London, and represented New Zealand at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.


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