30 Emerging Artists to Watch During Frieze Week
Let the skip through New York in pursuit of art commence—be it hopping a water taxi to Randall’s Island, taking the subway to Red Hook, or getting lost looking for the entrance of Basketball City. In anticipation of Frieze Week New York, we sifted through thousands of artworks to determine the list of 30 emerging artists to keep your eye out for, across the week’s four main fairs. There’s Frieze New York, the U.S. edition of London’s long-loved October event, held in a white big-top tent on Randall’s Island; Collective, the design fair gathering top-notch works from the last century to today in Skylight Clarkson Sq; NADA, the beloved nonprofit-run alternative fair holding court at Basketball City; and finally, 1:54, the contemporary African Art fair, staging a pop-up at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn.
The artists below, born primarily since 1980, hail from cities from Vienna to Johannesburg, Kano to Toledo, and work with subject matter from emoji to sexuality. Five standouts from the list—Jesse Greenberg, Thaddeus Wolfe, ruby onyinyechi amanze, Aki Sasamoto, and Sara Cwynar—have been profiled at greater length.
B. 1985, VANCOUVER, BC. LIVES AND WORKS IN BROOKLYN, New york
AVAILABLE AT: FOXY PRODUCTION, FOCUS, BOOTH D4.
Like many of her best-known photographs, Sara Cwynar’s new series centers on a set of pictures that she discovered at a thrift store. She premieres the works alongside those of acclaimed young net artist Petra Cortright, at Foxy Production’s Frieze New York booth. These particular snapshots follow a Kenyan man on a business trip in South Korea. Cwynar, who says she has “always been interested in how to use all technology available to reanimate the old stuff,” has scanned and enlarged them, as well as created new, distinct photographs based on the color scheme (blue, pink), setting (office), and themes (gender, labor) of the found images. One work shows a woman’s hand hovering over a reproduction of Picasso’s Demoiselles D’Avignon; another features a collage of representations of the Egyptian beauty icon Nefertiti.
Cwynar, currently midway through the photography MFA program at Yale University, earned her bachelor’s in graphic design and has worked in this capacity at the New York Times Magazine. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that her work is formally impeccable, her compositions complex but clean. Cwynar explains that she is interested in the temporality of trends, which tend to be more explicitly acknowledged in design than in art. “The failure of design is a big conceptual part of my work,” she says. “Something is designed to look classy and then it fades.”
Cwynar cites Christopher Williams and Roe Ethridge as influences; like them, she is committed to exploring the deceptions of commercial photography. If we take the time to unpack what Cwynar calls the “vernacular” images that we absorb unwittingly every day, they reveal secrets: touch-ups, marketing ploys. Similarly, she hopes that a closer look at her own subtly intricate photos will highlight “the real work that went into these pictures—a kind of care and tenderness that’s present in them.”
From Long Island to Randall’s Island, this Los Angeles artist’s name is ringing through New York. Those buzzing over her first solo museum exhibition (at MoMA PS1, no less) should take the ferry to Frieze, where paintings made with an ambiguous language of symbols and shapes—alligators, zigzags, cigarettes—offer infinite, and delightfully amusing, readings. The accompanying sculptures, while they shadow and mingle with the canvases, are very much a focal point in their own right.
Last fall, on a saunter through London’s Regent’s Park between Frieze London and Masters, one might have spotted—and many did Instagram—de Santis’s larger-than-life emoji smileys in the wild. But the Roman artist’s playful antics were just getting started. Following a January solo at Limoncello (gallery-goers bounced on a gallery floor-cum-trampoline) de Santis traded studios with Yonatan Vinitsky in the lead-up to the pair’s collaborative booth at Frieze.
Twentysomething Kosovar artist Halilaj has a history of impressing his elders—as a 13-year-old during the Kosovo War of 1998–99, he amazed fellow refugees with his ambidextrous drawing skills. The trauma of his childhood and his dissolved nation is manifest in his works, including installations inspired by former sites of his homeland like the Museum of Natural History, Kosovo and his school in Runik—currently the focus of a show at Cologne’s Kölnischer Kunstverein.
You may already know Nkanga—no stranger to international art venues, having been featured in a solo show at Tate Modern and three São Paulo Biennials—for her 14 Rooms performance during Art Basel 2014 featuring women carrying potted-plants on their heads, a piece which tapped into her recurring environmentalist theme. Works on view at Frieze are a taste of what’s to come in her Paris solo show with In Situ - Fabienne Leclerc this fall and, reflecting her fluency across media and her knack for storytelling. They include a tapestry where diamonds fall from the sky and c-prints featuring humans trapped in mounds of earth.
Discipline, control, and convention are at the core of the young Czech artist’s practice—think schools, prisons, and psychiatric hospitals, the last of which was the subject of her much-acclaimed installation, Asylum, at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Pre-Randall’s Island, take a spin through the New Museum Triennial for her performance-installation-tableau vivant (a standout of the show); and at the fair, find a solo booth filled with cage-like metal sculptures, likened to math-class apparatus.
Stahl’s poster-sized photo-collages are exciting for their very lack of digital technology—the artist’s hands and storebought scanners are her tools of choice, resulting in lo-fi constructions that reflect our commodity culture (she’s also known for her wall-mounted crushed beer cans). Large inkjet prints on aluminum with polyurethane feature at Frieze, including works that suggest a move away from her image-based approach.
B. 1980, KANAGAWA, JAPAN. LIVES AND WORKS IN BROOKLYN, New york
AVAILABLE AT: FRIEZE PROJECTS
Like Myers, Briggs, and Rorschach before her, Aki Sasamoto has built a personality test. Unlike theirs, Sasamoto’s construction is literal. Her not-for-profit project at this year’s edition of Frieze New York is a three-dimensional maze that snakes between booths. Viewers will navigate it by answering multiple-choice questions, eventually arriving at a judgment on what type of character they exhibit. The 35-year-old Sasamoto, best known as a performance artist, often draws maps of different spaces to plan how she will move through them. The piece at Frieze only accommodates one fairgoer at a time, which she hopes will afford the audience the same kind of intimacy.
Space is critically important to Sasamoto’s practice, but her works are not so much site-specific as site-dependent. She has performed in a variety of environments, from black-box theaters to museums and galleries, and explains that she can adjust her pieces to be staged in any of them. In a theater, the light and sound would be more immersive; in a fine art space, she’d focus more on personal interactions and less on projection. In fact, Sasamoto regularly modifies her work based on circumstance and instinct. For example, she says, “If I want to talk, I talk. If there isn’t an impulse to talk, I won’t.” Although storytelling is a strong undercurrent in most of her performances and installations, there is never a fixed message she needs to convey. “It’s more of a talking energy.”
Sasamoto has been compared to the avant-garde Japanese Gutai and Mono-ha artists of the 20th century, but she studied in the U.S. and speculates that this is just an attempt to contextualize her. “My guts are Japanese, but my head is American,” she says. One thing is sure: despite her strong vision, she revels in flexibility. Sometimes she uses her body, sometimes her voice. Sometimes she punctuates her work with found objects, or writing, or both. Of her Frieze installation, she says excitedly, “I don’t really know how it’s going to unfold.” —Emily Rappaport
Few artists have fused the theater and gallery spheres with the same finesse as Clark. Following his cabaret-inspired exhibition at London’s David Roberts Art Foundation—and as a teaser to his upcoming film The Two Headed Eagle—the artist has constructed a mise-en-scène at Frieze touted as “autoerotic teenage bedroom” meets “cinematic archive” meets “collector’s cabinet.” To say that anticipation is high for this Frame booth is quite the understatement.
Evans creates digital works that possess emotive, vaguely melancholic human characteristics. At Frieze, the 2012 Emdash Award winner will present her video work Hyperlinks or it didn’t happen (2014), a combination of CGI, animation, film clips, and found footage that considers our daily digital integration, led by narrator PHIL (a computer rendering of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Hailing from Johannesburg by way of California, this 26-year-old artist has made a home in New York—and a serious name in the city’s art world, as of late. Last week, Levin opened his first solo exhibition at Marianne Boesky’s Lower East Side Space since joining her stable last summer. If you saw the show (which you should) you’ll find similar work to the gridded mirrored panels—a nod to his training as an architect—at Boesky’s Frieze booth. But you’ll have to head to the LES if you want to see Levin’s new series of convex paintings.
Timed with the opening of Frieze, the Vienna-based artist, who recently graduated from fashion school, will debut a performance with artist Dena Yago at New York’s MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38, where her first U.S. institutional solo show is currently on view. At the fair, Berger takes the reins at JTT’s first Frieze New York booth, where her photography-and-fabric pieces show a fascinating exploration of materials that trumps the gross-out factor of reliving last night’s dinner.
B. 1985, VENICE, FLORIDA. LIVES AND WORKS IN NEW YORK, New york
AVAILABLE AT: SOCIÉTÉ, FOCUS, BOOTH A38
Featured in Frieze Focus, Baga’s multimedia installations employ video projections and haphazard collections of objects—anything from personal detritus mined from her studio to handmade clay and papier-mâché articles—for an immersive effect that draws upon elements of painting, sculpture, and photography.
“I always knew I wanted to try it, but I never thought it was a practical thing to do, like for a career,” says Thaddeus Wolfe, regarding glass-making—the very field that’s shaped his career and landed him as one of the most exciting young artists at Collective Design fair this week. His dynamic vessels and lamps resemble funky crystal-like formations in acid colors or weighty geometric forms carved from chunks of ice or rock. It should come as no surprise to learn that Wolfe’s hometown is Toledo, Ohio—dubbed “The Glass City” since the early 1900s, home to the birth of the Studio Glass movements in the ’60s, and host to a world-renowned collection of glass at the Toledo Museum of Art. As a painting student at The Cleveland Institute of Art, Wolfe took an elective class in glass, which swiftly changed his course. “It was a really seductive material to use at the time,” he explains. “I just really enjoy the process and, especially in the beginning, the physical aspect of doing it is so interesting.”
Upon graduating Wolfe moved to New York where he initially frequented a glass studio in Williamsburg, trading working hours for studio hours, and landed jobs with major contemporary glass artists Jeff Zimmerman and Josiah McElheny. He racked up residencies at the Creative Glass Center of America (2008), Tacoma Glass Museum (2009), and Pilchuck Glass School (2009), and a string of group exhibitions in New York followed—but according to the artist, his most formative moment to date was just last year. “The work I made for Volume Gallery in January 2014, was a turning point with the work, incorporating pattern designs into the surface, as a relief, and utilizing the layering of color to really exploit the form.”
Now, based in Brooklyn, he blows glass just once or twice per month. “It doesn’t sound like much, but it takes me so much time to get the pieces ready to get there,” Wolfe explains. While he frequents the Gowanus public-access glassblowing facility Brooklyn Glass, the magic (or rather, the beginning and the end of each piece) happens in his 900-square-foot studio, located on the dividing line between East Williamsburg and Bushwick. Wolfe blows his works into plaster and silicone molds, into which he carves patterns, developing intricate surfaces. His process is fluid and flexible, often left up to chance. “As much as I try to plan things out, often as soon as I start making something full-scale, it kind of changes—it’s kind of like drawing—I have to react to what happens. Or, I’ll change my mind if something looks good and just go with it.”
While we can look forward to Wolfe’s solo show at R & Company this fall, this week he debuts works with the gallery at Collective. (He will also be showing with them in June at Design Miami/Basel.) For some of the new works, he explains, “I’m using a white base layer and then sprinkling little bits of black and blue over that, and then once it’s all heated up, and melted together, and blown in the mold it creates this kind of almost animal-skin- or animal-fur-pattern...it’s a very organic pattern.” He notes that some works combine five or six different colors: “I think it’s the beginning of some new techniques I’ve come up with for coloration.”
b. 1981, Seoul, South Korea. Lives and works in Los Angeles, California
Available at: Sight Unseen OFFSITE, entryroom
When she’s working on her own—as opposed to with her husband for their L.A. furniture studio Brook&Lyn—Mimi Jung creates sumptuous-yet-minimal, woven-natural-fiber wall-hangings that are just begging to be touched. Her works at Collective are more sculptural and design-based, yet equally tactile: four blue-green curvilinear steel-framed pieces that can fit together or sit independently.
For two artist-designers who have termed their dark, boundary-pushing, and often lewd aesthetic “Oppressionism,” a foray into children’s furniture might seem an unlikely pursuit. But their line of “Fictional Furniture” for kinder Modern is as curious and surreal as their work for adults—the highlight being an Op Art-esque black and white chair modeled as an abstracted ibis bird.
b. 1979, Tokyo, Japan. Lives and works in Washington, D.C.
Available at: Artsy, Booth C17
RISD alum Takagi has been enlisted for the 8th edition of #ArtsyTakeover at Collective, for which he’s crafted an inverted amphitheater from plywood and other recycled materials to function as a place of repose from the fair’s hustle and bustle. The structure, aptly titled “Colosseum,” offers fairgoers tiered seating on the outside and an enclosed space inside for a moment of peace.
Dutch design duo Oskar Peet and Sophie Mensen, a.k.a. OS ∆ OOS, have been catching attention worldwide for their innovative “Mono-lights”—LED lamp segments connected by flexible lengths of metal into a continuous, futuristic installation that can be contorted ad infinitum—of which they’re bringing a copper version of to the fair.
Kahn’s kooky designs play with texture and material, in pieces that seem straight out of a trippy funhouse. The wildly colorful objects are made with resin, vinyl, glass, foil, and concrete. At Collective you’ll find faux mirrors from his “Saturday Morning Series” and floor lamps dripping with acid-bright pigments.
A bird in a sparkling green, glittered suit; an alien named Ada with a traditional African hairstyle; a leopard named Audre with a photo-transfer head; a merman. These are among the playful band of characters that populate ruby onyinyechi amanze’s “Aliens, Hybrids, and Ghosts” series—pencil-and-ink drawings on paper embellished with glitter and fluorescent pen—that will be shown by Mariane Ibrahim Gallery at the 1:54 pop-up this week. “The series began when I went to Nigeria in 2012,” Amanze tells me from her studio in Soho, tucked away in a former FBI evidence warehouse (a space awarded by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council 10-month studio residency program). “It was initially inspired by my own story of hybridity.”
For an artist who counts hybridity, identity, and cultural displacement as primary concerns of her practice, Amanze, born in Nigeria, raised in England and a suburb of Philadelphia, and schooled at Cranbrook Academy in the U.S., is well-endowed with source material. At age 13, she tells me, Amanze visited Nigeria for the first time—“fell in love with it”’—and began to form a relationship with her native country, one that, 17 years later, would bring her to apply for a Fulbright scholarship. And in 2012, off to Nsukka, Nigeria, she went.
The series that evolved—and which she continues to build—is bespeckled with floating characters enacting snippets of what Amanze describes as a nonlinear narrative and pieced-together memories of her time in Nigeria. “It’s inspired by my own story of being a nomad and having multiple homes, and not ever fitting neatly into a box of where I’m from or how I identify,” she says. “It’s celebrating that middle space, considering it be an authentic space as opposed to one of dislocation.” On identity, Amanze touts the 1:54 fair as an excellent place to dispel existing myths about contemporary art coming from Africa and the diaspora. “What does work by an African artist look like—what topics are these artists thinking about?” she posits. Often times it is put into a very limited box, whether visually or thematically. That doesn’t work anymore. Fairs like 1:54 are rewriting that conversation.”
Diop’s latest series, “Project Diaspora” (the first in which he himself appears), presents a dozen reimaginings of often-overlooked Africans in Western Europe from the 15th to 19th centuries, portraying such icons as Frederick Douglass alongside anachronistic references to soccer.
A standout of Okwui Enwezor’s Venice Biennale exhibition “All the World’s Futures”—and, at 28, the youngest of its 136 participants—Mahama has forged a path through the Arsenale using Ghana Cocoa Board burlap sacks, a trademark material also found in his wall-sized tapestry from A Palazzo Gallery at 1:54. Sewn together, the worn and marked-up bags transform into a quilt—recalling the gritty sail of a pirate ship—that reveals systems of transit and trade while oozing sheer materiality.
Jesse Greenberg, the 33-year-old sculptor who will represent Loyal at NADA in New York, describes his studio as an “alchemical laboratory.” When Greenberg, who also co-founded the gallery 247365, began working with plastics, resins, and silicones as an undergraduate at RISD, it was to make molds and multiples. Now, more than 10 years later, Greenberg continues to focus on these materials, but no longer on their intended usages. His current process is playful—a rhythm of mixing, contaminating, adding, and subtracting. While this methodology may seem biochemical in nature, Greenberg’s real scientific interest is in technology, where innovation comes from cycles of experimentation, revelation, and perfection. Likewise, he explains, “I’m trying to do something, but very often the accidents are what begins to pique a curiosity.”
Technology is one of the driving conceptual forces behind Greenberg’s new series “Face Scan,” which will be on view at NADA this weekend as well as at Derek Eller through the end of May. These wall sculptures—polymers of fluid textures and alien colors, framed by earthly materials like wood and metal—evoke the flat surfaces that we interface with in weighty ways every day, like plasma screens, cell phones, ATMs. “I don’t want them to be beholden to being beheld on the wall,” Greenberg says. He’d rather that each work have a “real body-to-body relationship” with viewer.
The vocabulary used to describe Greenberg’s subject matter—in the case of “Face Scan,” terms like “connectivity,” “surveillance,” and “communicative prosthetic technologies”—is as theoretical as his visual forms are visceral. But that’s the point: he likes thinking about ideas like connectivity, so immaterial in the internet age, in a “more blood and guts way.” At his core, Greenberg is interested in harnessing the energies of attraction and repulsion to make our neurons fire and our stomachs flip.
Mysterious disembodied limbs and other floating objects pepper the work of Kronberg, whose large-scale photograms—almost three-dimensional in form, marked with folds and creases—stand alongside a series of silicone sculptures cast from readymades in Essex Flowers’s NADA presentation.
The Dallas-born Reames taunts us with snaps of drying canvases—a friendly offering in the countdown to Frieze, from which we conclude that pyramids, playing cards, and words penned in memespeak will appear in his brand new work. As one could imagine, given that his paintings hang in The Hole’s current group show, “Post-Analog Painting”—amongst angry birds and oil-rendered anime—Reames communicates in the language of the internet. His dialect, one of floating clip art, drop-shadowed emoji, and airbrush, is brilliantly universal.
The dog you’ll find roaming the fair, projecting translated tunes from a speaker, is the latest installment in Silverman’s “dog plays” series, which uses canine actors to subvert (pop)cultural narratives. At Bodega’s booth, Silverman presents delightfully bizarre soups filled with polyurethane vegetables and human figurines, and fabricated sand dollars embedded with world currencies.
b. 1984, Frankfurt, Germany. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany, and Luxembourg
Available at: DUVE Berlin, Booth 3.02
Driven by an interest in the actual materiality of sculpture, Kox manipulates industrial and everyday objects into works that engage viewers on an almost sensual level—her “Ponderous Push” series employs colored pipes and plaster casts which look deceptively plush.
Versteeg’s vibrant, painterly works are created with computer algorithms, which take images from the web and distort them into unrecognizable, abstract blurs. After the program has run its course, the images are printed on canvas and framed—acting as analog artifacts of the digital world.
b. 1981, Provo, Utah. Lives and works Las Vegas, Nevada.
Available at: Anat Ebgi, Booth 1.06
Coy’s Mormon upbringing drives his films, performances, photos, and paintings, which explore sexuality as taboo and flirt with viewer expectations. In the gallery’s first time showing Coy’s work, Anat Ebgi delivers pieces from the artist’s “Deformer” series, in which green-screen paint, pornographic images, and a Photoshop grid are overlaid to create a glitchy, fluorescent pattern.
Back in 2012, as the youngest artist featured in dOCUMENTA(13), Buch let her roots in biology show as she staged The Lover (2012), a secret garden filled with 3,000 plants and 3,000 butterflies that she tended to daily. Natural imagery thrives in recent works featured at NADA, composites of small photographs with dissonant pairings like ocean waves crashing over a lone figure and a plate filled with the remnants of an eaten chocolate cake.