“The most extraordinary moment of 2014, for me, was winning the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, which has been a longstanding dream of mine since my university days in London,” Richard Mosse, the 34-year-old photographer and filmmaker who tops this year’s list of most popular artists under 35, told Artsy. As with the rest of the artists below, whether selling out their first solo shows or stunning crowds with high auction prices, the 20- and 30-something lot of artists have garnered much attention in 2014, and the following names—hailing from New York, Brussels, Los Angeles, Cologne, and Taipei—reflect the artists, born post 1979, with the highest number of artist follows on Artsy this year.
When the curtain rose at London’s Royal Ballet in early February, the colorful leotards and geometric light sculptures affirmed two new talents for Tauba Auerbach, already beloved for her Op Art paintings and musical performances: costume and set designer. By spring, Auerbach had opened her first solo exhibition in the UK at London’s ICA, and by October, she set an auction record for her one of her “Fold” paintings—only to shatter it the next month with a half-million-dollar sale. In December, Auerbach’s origami-like, folded canvases found a spot on the second floor of the de la Cruz collection, among one of Art Basel in Miami week’s strongest presentations.
Belgian artist Harold Ancart, much loved for his large-scale oil stick drawings, sculptural installations, and burnt photographs of paradise, has had an excellent year. From his solo exhibition at Xavier Hufkens in Brussels, to his stunning installation in Art Basel’s Unlimited Sector (a charcoal wall drawing reflected onto a mirrored floor) to inclusion in the Taipei Biennial—and a group exhibition co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist—Ancart has been everywhere. Visitors to the Hort family’s annual Armory Show brunch saw three of Ancart’s drawings hanging in the living room; collectors visiting Art Basel in Miami Beach marveled at the first painting by Ancart to be produced on canvas.
Kadar Brock, who recently compared abstraction to magic and spell-casting in an interview with Artsy, just debuted a new direction at Art Basel in Miami Beach: sculptures made with plaster and wooden plinths. Not to worry, though; his beloved reworked abstractions still abound, like the sanded and scraped canvases he displayed in Miami with Vigo Gallery at Untitled (all sold), the large-scale dust piece (among others) at Art Basel with Almine Rech, and the works headed for his solo exhibition with Vigo Gallery in January—promising to be one of the best shows to begin the year.
The centerpiece of Sam Moyer’s solo exhibition with Rachel Uffner Gallery last May was a giant slab of marble, fit for walking on—and recently, the artist confessed to bringing 2.3 tons of the stuff down to Miami Beach. From her solo exhibition with Galerie Rodolphe Janssen at the M Building, to her work with Rachel Uffner at NADA, to her sculpture outside of the Bass Museum, Moyer and her marble were ubiquitous throughout the Miami fairs—and for much of 2014.
This year, after scavenging plant life across the world (ferns from his childhood home in Vermont, palm fronds from his Venice backyard, or clippings from trees near his residency with the Zabludowicz Collection on the Finnish island of Sarvisalo) Sam Falls toured his time-based works, made by overlaying fabric with foliage and exposing it to sun and rain, from Zürich to Los Angeles. In July, following a solo show at the Zabludowicz Collection in London, Falls opened “Light Over Time,” an outdoor sculpture commission with Public Art Fund in Brooklyn.
Counting backwards from the massive 25-foot-diameter hole he’s just dug in the floor of Miami’s Locust Projects during Art Basel Miami Beach Week, Daniel Arsham’s name has graced just about every happening and city of 2014—from the Friezes to the Basels, even New York Fashion Week. Capping off a year where he’s had four strong solo exhibitions (Galerie Perrotin, OHWOW, Baró Galeria, and Locust Projects) Arsham just debuted a special project with Pippy Houldsworth in London, a new film starring James Franco and Juliette Lewis in Paris, and is holding out on a big secret for 2015—a mystery project with long-time collaborator Pharrell Williams, rumored his largest to date.
One month into 2014 and Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung was celebrating the Lancaster edition of his traveling solo debut in the UK (split between Peter Scott Gallery and The Story in Lancaster), where some of his best-known landscapes, installations, and still life videos were on view. A highlight was his “Wrinkled Texture” photography series, Prussian-blue cyanotypes that have been crumpled and set in the sun, reimagining traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Finishing off the year, Wu has just been shortlisted for the Prudential Eye Awards, a prize granted to the best in emerging Asian contemporary artists to be announced January 2015.
“David is the future of painting,” Scarlett Johansson cooed of Ostrowski over “Emotional Paintings,” his May exhibition at Peres Projects during Gallery Weekend Berlin, where Ostrowski had shown the latest from his “F Paintings” series (characterized by gestures on unprimed canvas and branded by his favorite letter of the alphabet). The German painter is wrapping up 2014 with a large-scale solo exhibition at the Rubell Family Collection, part of six solo exhibitions commissioned for the collection’s 20-year anniversary.
“I will be watching Lucien Smith because he brings me sunshine in the rain,” Alberto Mugrabi revealed on the eve of 2014, naming Smith—famous for his “Rain Paintings,” made using a paint-filled fire extinguisher—an artist to watch in the coming year. Nevermind the auction record he set at Sotheby’s in February (£224,500 for a “Rain” painting); in May, Smith opened his first (and solo) exhibition at Skarstedt Gallery in New York, where he debuted a new body of camouflage-patterned abstract paintings, and in August, the Cooper Union grad thoughtfully riffed on his journey as an artist in a TEDx Talk to students at Columbia College.
Richard Mosse’s haunting video documentation of war in the Congo, captured in the surreal pink of infrared military surveillance film and first debuted at the Irish pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2013, has seen a ripple effect that will carry well into 2015 (no doubt, championed by the virality of his high-gloss, technicolor images that have made him a favorite in online photo communities). The work, titled “The Enclave,” was shown at Jack Shainman Gallery in February, earned him the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in May, appeared at Art Berlin Contemporary in September, and, in addition to being on rapper Swizz Beatz’ most-wanted list, will open 2015 in a solo exhibition at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, followed by the Nasher Museum of Art.