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Looking for the Next Big Thing? Here Are 5 Rising Artists to Know From New York Art Week 2022
A guide to who's hot, why you should pay attention, and where to get your hands on their work (or at least try).
The first-ever New York Art Week is officially in the books. The fresh branding accompanies the confluence of a number of fairs focused on new art, including NADA, Independent, and Future Fair. (TEFAF was going on too, but that one is less for spotting fresh talent than for gorging on oysters and blue-chip art.)
The Artnet News Pro team scoured the fairs to bring you five artists who look poised to reach the next stage in their careers in short order. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
Mickey Lee (b. 1996)
Who: Born in rural Oregon, Lee was raised by a woodworker father. When she turned 20, she developed essential tremor, a neurological disorder that affects her hands. The condition gives “life to my work and allow (sic) me to surrender to the lack of control I have over my hands,” Lee once told an interviewer.
Based in: Los Angeles, California
Showing at: One Trick Pony gallery (NADA)
Prices: The booth sold out, with five paintings on view priced between $10,000 and $12,000.
Why You Should Pay Attention: In Lee’s allegorical world, flora, fauna, and nude, humanoid characters interact with curiosity and hesitation. These mysterious and cartoonish scenes are filled with verdant plants, blooming flowers, and frolicking rabbits and herons. Lee contrasts the trembling line that contours the figure with flat, cutout-like masses of vibrant color. The works have attracted collectors Beth Rudin DeWoody, Jeff Magid, Matt Aberle, and Alberto Chehebar, according to the gallery.
Up Next: An exhibition at Half Gallery Annex in October in New York, followed by a solo show at One Trick Pony in December in Los Angeles.
Gori Mora (b. 1992)
Who: Mallorca-born Gori Mora uses a technically challenging, visually sublime painting technique to render frozen moments of queer intimacy, as mediated by the screens of the devices that now structure so many of our experiences (romantic and otherwise).
Based in: Glasgow, Scotland
Showing at: Beers London (Future Fair)
Prices: The six new paintings in the booth ranged from $8,000 to $12,600 each; five had sold midway through the fair’s VIP preview on Wednesday.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Aside from the enthusiastic response among New York collectors, Mora’s practice stands out for its inverted process and adept execution. He paints directly on the reverse side of perspex (aka plexiglass) panels, methodically building up each composition from foreground to background. The end result alludes to both smartphone content and a precious memento preserved under glass.
Fun Fact: Some of the figures within Mora’s works are uncredited self-portraits.
Up Next: Mora will have his first solo show at Beers London in 2023.
Julia Jo (b. 1991)
Who: The Seoul-born painter works mainly with oils to create rich, lustrous abstract compositions.
Based in: Brooklyn, New York
Showing at: Charles Moffett (NADA)
Prices: Each piece from Moffett’s sold-out booth was priced at $12,000.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Institutions have taken an interest in Jo’s energetic, at times frenetic canvases—the ICA Miami was one of those hasty and savvy buyers to snap up a work during the first hour of NADA. The attention could be dizzying, considering how green she is: this was Jo’s debut with Moffett, and her first solo show in London at Ronchini Gallery just closed last week.
Fun Fact: It may not be obvious due to the work’s heavy abstraction, but many of Jo’s paintings are based on the depiction of women throughout art history, specifically during the Renaissance.
Up Next: Jo’s very first solo show in New York will be mounted at Moffett’s new Tribeca space at 431 Washington Street this coming December.
vanessa german (b. 1976)
Who: A self-taught, multidisciplinary artist, german works across sculpture, performance, communal rituals, immersive installation, and photography. She mixes found objects with beads, glass, fabric, and sculpted wood to create her “power figures,” which draw on Congolese Nkisi sculptures and folk art practices. In 2018, german won the 2018 Don Tyson Prize, a biannual $200,000 award from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Based in: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Showing at: Kasmin (Independent)
Prices: Eleven works sold during the run of the fair (nine on preview day) for prices ranging from $30,000 to $45,000.
Why You Should Pay Attention: There is a reason why visitors were gravitating toward—and lingering in—Kasmin’s booth: roughly a dozen arresting sculptural installations by german were installed on individual white plinths roughly at eye level. They immediately draw you in.
The titles and descriptions of each piece are also integral. Take the above example, titled She Almost Disappeared Entirely: a Super Power (2022). Per german, its materials include: “cloth, foam, made in japan candle handle, bamboo earrings, love, rage, the impossibility of a Black Girl ever being the victim of anything because she is strong and Black don’t crack and not even little Black girls deserve protecting because she is a monster she is always a monster, this is a monstrous thing, red, yarn, hair grease, my old hair braids, by ‘my’ this means they are the old hair braids of the artist, the artist IS a Black Girl and sometimes a monster and she quite enjoys that, wood, astroturf, a miraculous healing, vintage kitchen fabric, red beads, red beaded trim, stop light, blind spot mirror, rage, hate, spittle, a reason to be gentle, flight.”
Fun Fact: The artist’s practice is closely linked to her role as an activist and community leader. In 2011, after moving her studio practice onto the front steps of her home, german founded the Love Front Porch, an arts initiative for the women, children, and families in her Pittsburgh neighborhood.
Up Next: A solo show at Kasmin opens in New York in September.
Zoé Blue M.
Who: The 28-year-old Los Angeles-based artist has had a banner year—particularly considering she’s hasn’t even graduated from her MFA program at the University of California, Los Angeles yet. At Independent, Blue debuted five new paintings of an anime-inflected character in dreamy environments; each is associated with one of five popular Japanese folktales and one of five elements.
Based in: Los Angeles, California
Showing at: PAGE NYC (Independent)
Prices: All five works, priced between $20,000 and $30,000, were pre-sold ahead of the fair preview.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Blue’s paintings draw on her own family history and combine the day-glo aesthetic of the Chicago Imagists with the iconography of anime and ukiyo-e. She’s already had significant success for someone so new on the scene. Following a solo exhibition with Anat Ebgi in spring 2020, her solo debut at PAGE NYC last year sold out.
Up Next: Her work is included in the buzzy Jeffrey Deitch group show “Wonder Women” in New York, curated by Kathy Huang (through June 25).
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