A Buyer’s Guide to the Breakout Stars of the New Museum Triennial: Who They Are and Where to Find Them

Here are six stars who made a splash in the closely watched show.

"2021 Triennial: Soft Water Hard Stone," 2021. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni

For committed collectors, biennials and triennials can often serve as a better hunting ground for new acquisitions than an art fair. While 2022 has plenty of these exhibitions in store, from the Venice Biennale to Documenta, don’t sleep on those that, like the New Museum Triennial, feature lesser-known, emerging names.

This year’s triennial, “Soft Water Hard Stone” (on view through January 23 and curated by Margot Norton and Jamillah James), has a quiet presence. As our art critic Ben Davis wrote, “It’s a show of a lot of things that either lay on the ground or look like they were just picked up off the ground, and things that vaguely evoke a ruin.” This gentle, homespun aesthetic is present in a lot of art right now, as some young makers explicitly reject digital media in favor of found and natural materials.

To help guide you through the show, the Artnet News Pro team has homed in on five of the 40 artists in the show who are poised to ascend to the next stage of their careers. Here’s a primer on their work—and what you need to know to get your hands on it.


Evgeny Antufiev (b. 1986)

An installation by Evgeny Antufiev. Courtesy of the New Museum.

Gallery affiliation: Emalin gallery, London

What to know: Born in Siberia, Antufiev lives in Moscow and works with archaic, natural materials such as copper, wood, cloth, stone, and bone. Rooted in mythology, his work takes the form of masks, roughly stiched stuffed dolls, carved figurines, and small mystical objects that feel at once precious and haunting. The installation at the New Museum explores masks across history against the backdrop of wallpaper based on the design of a marble Roman sarcophagus from the 3rd century A.D. Antufiev received Russia’s prestigious Kandinsky Prize Award twice, in 2009 and 2019. 

Most wanted: The bronze vessels encrusted with precious stones and the embroidered textile masks are particularly popular, according to Angelina Volk, director of Emalin gallery, which sold out its booth of Antufiev’s works at Art Basel in September. 

Price points: 5,000 to €100,000

Up next: A solo exhibition at Golubitskoe Art Foundation in Russia will open in April. Antufiev’s second solo show at Emalin will coincide with Frieze London later this year.

Katya Kazakina


Bronwyn Katz (b. 1993)

Bronwyn Katz, <i>Kx'anis</i> (2021) made of salvaged bedsprings and pot scourers. © Bronwyn Katz Image courtesy the artist and blank projects, South Africa.

Bronwyn Katz, Kx’anis (2021), made of salvaged bedsprings and pot scourers. © Bronwyn Katz Image courtesy the artist and blank projects, South Africa.

Gallery affiliation: blank projects, Cape Town

What to know: Katz, a founding member of iQhiya Collective, a network of young black female artists based in Cape Town and Johannesburg, is a multidisciplinary artist who works with found materials. Worn out and discarded mattresses, sometimes dissected and stripped down to their elements like coiled springs, are a recurring motif. Though blank projects is her sole gallery, she had a solo show at White Cube’s Bermondsey space this past summer, which included wall-mounted deconstructed metal bed frames and bed springs. Her work has been championed by, among other collectors, the influential South African businesswoman Pulane Kingston.

Most wanted: “All of her work is in demand,” says blank projects director Jonathan Garnham, noting that there is a waiting list. Her installation at the triennial, Xãe (2021), is a cluster of steel, cardboard, and wire totems that look like a family, or a forest.

Price points: $15,000 and $30,000 for individual works (installations are pricier)

Up next: Katz is working on a new series of sculptures comprising salvaged bed springs and pot scourers. Also of recent note is a new body of work she made for the Future Generation Art Prize comprised of steel, stones, iron ore and coal.

Eileen Kinsella


Kahlil Robert Irving (b.1992)

Kahlil Robert Irving, work from "Routes&Roots[(SaintLouis NewYork (returnflight)] MEMORY MASSES" (2021). Courtesy the artist.

Kahlil Robert Irving, work from “Routes&Roots[(SaintLouis NewYork (returnflight)] MEMORY MASSES” (2021). Courtesy the artist.

Gallery affiliation: None

What to know: Irving is best known for his densely abstract sculptural assemblages. On view at the New Museum are ten ceramic clustered forms resembling the detritus of everyday life—a coffee mug, takeout boxes, and crumpled-up magazines are layered with images and text mined from the internet, which Irving views as “living archive of Black life, death, remembrance, celebration, and survival.” He was recently included in Antwaun Sargent’s “Social Works II” exhibition at Gagosian.

Most wanted: There is keen demand for Irving’s large-scale prints—one was recently acquired by the Whitney Museum—and sculptural objects similar those on view at the New Museum. “With my practice, things are constantly in flux so there is a good audience and collector interest in everything I make,” Irving said.

Price points: $15,000 to $150,000

Up next: Irving has completed a New York museum hat trick, with work currently on view at the Whitney Museum’s “Making Knowing, Craft in Art 1950-2019,” a solo presentation, “Projects:Kahlil Robert Irving,” at the Museum of Modern Art, and, of course, the New Museum Triennial.

The artist will also be featured in group shows at the High Museum in Atlanta and the Carnegie Museum of Art in the spring, as well as the American University Museum of Art at the Katzen Art Center in the fall. His next solo exhibition will be at the Walker Art Center in 2023.

Naomi Rea


Brandon Ndife (b. 1991)

Brandon Ndife <i>Pinched</i> (2021). Courtesy of the artist and Bureau, New York. Photography by Dario Lasagni.

Brandon Ndife
Pinched (2021). Courtesy of the artist and Bureau, New York. Photography by Dario Lasagni.

Gallery affiliation: Bureau, New York

What to Know: Born in Hammond, Indiana, Ndife originally trained as a painter before largely leaving behind canvas and palette to make his uncanny mark in three dimensions. His otherworldly yet oddly grounded sculptures find tables, chairs, and other domestic objects seeming to sprout biomorphic growths or give in to being reclaimed by the roots of a poisoned planet. The results live in the borderland between decay and decadence, rot and romance.

Most wanted: The sculptures on view in “Soft Water, Hard Stone” encapsulate what has drawn so much attention to the young artist. Using materials ranging from cast insulation foam and resins, to earth pigments and rubber, Ndife creates works whose eerie textures cry out to be touched, even as they make you wonder what might happen to your body if you indulged the urge. 

Price points: $5,000 to $20,000

Up next: A solo exhibition opens later this month at Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery in Middletown, Connecticut. Ndife’s work can also be viewed in the group show “A Través” at James Cohan, New York through February 19.

—Tim Schneider


Ambera Wellmann (b. 1982)

Ambera Wellmann, Strobe, (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Company Gallery, New York

Ambera Wellmann, Strobe, (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Company Gallery, New York.

Gallery affiliation: Company Gallery, New York, and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin

What to know: The Nova Scotia-born, New York-based artist is an inventive painter whose work takes inspiration from Surrealism and Romanticism—only to give it a slightly perverted twist. Her painting in the triennial, one of her largest to date, depicts a beach scene with bodies rolling around in ecstasy. Think of it as Hieronymus Bosch meets Goya meets Nicole Eisenman.

Most wanted: Wellman’s paintings have a long list of admirers. At Art Basel Miami Beach in December, Company Gallery presented a solo booth of Wellman’s work, complete with an artist-designed bed frame and a suite of new paintings.

Price points: The gallery declined to comment, but her work was on offer at the Independent art fair in 2020 for around $13,500. Prices have undoubtedly gone up since then.

Up next: Her work will be included in the star-studded group exhibition at ICA Boston “A Place For Me: Figurative Painting Now,” which opens on March 30.

Julia Halperin


Harry Gould Harvey IV (b.1991)

Works by Harry Gould Harvey IV (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Harry Gould Harvey IV (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Gallery affiliation: Bureau, New York

What to know: The artist creates elaborate, blood-red wax sculptures that evoke religious architecture and Satanic imagery. Harvey also gained attention when he opened Fall River MoCA, a museum of contemporary art inside a historic granite mill in his hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts.

Most wanted: While the sculptures tend to be most eye-catching, the artist’s prices for drawings (which come with hand-carved frames) have gone up nearly tenfold over the past four years. Both drawings on view at the New Museum have already sold. 

Price points: $4,000 to $5,000 for drawings; $5,000 to $25,000 for sculptures 

Up next: Bureau will include a few drawings by Harvey in an upcoming group show, and the artist is working on an installation at the Fruitlands Museum in Boston with found objects such as Henry Thoreau’s pencils. He’s also programming Fall River MoCA’s fourth group show, which will feature work by Rafael Sánchez and Kathleen White.

Annie Armstrong

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics