As the highly anticipated 45th edition of Art Basel is unveiled, an international audience converges on Basel, Switzerland, in search of the next big artists, and the familiar figures they’ve come to expect. Over the past week Artsy users have browsed our preview of the fair, and we present below the artists who have received the most follows.
10. Anish Kapoor: After first establishing his reputation in the 1980s with biomorphic sculptures in limestone and other natural materials, Kapoor began to explore the theme of “the void” in large-scale stone works, some with defined insides and outsides and others that clearly delineate empty spaces.
9. Joan Mitchell: In 1950s New York, Joan Mitchell was a lively, argumentative member of the famed Cedar Bar crowd, alongside Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and other notable first- and second-generation Abstract Expressionist painters. Based on landscape imagery and flowers, her large-scale paintings investigate the potential of big, aggressive brushstrokes and vivid color to convey emotion.
8. Victor Vasarely: Considered one of the progenitors of Op Art for his optically complex and illusionistic paintings, Victor Vasarely spent the course of a long, critically acclaimed career seeking, and arguing for an approach to art making that was deeply social. He placed primary importance on the development of an engaging, accessible visual language that could be universally understood—this language, for Vasarely, took the form of geometric abstraction.
7. Mel Bochner: A recurring theme in Bochner’s work is the relationship between language and physical space or color. This is famously demonstrated in his “Measurement” installations of the late 1960s, visualizing the exact dimensions of rooms and exhibition spaces, and thesaurus-inspired paintings of a single word and its synonyms.
6. Roy Lichtenstein: Lichtenstein stressed the artificiality of his images by painting them as though they’d come from a commercial press, with the flat, single-color Ben-Day dots of the newspaper meticulously rendered by hand using paint and stencils. Later in his career, he extended his source material to art history, including the work of Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, and experimented with three-dimensional works.
5. Sol LeWitt: LeWitt is best known for his large-scale “Wall Drawings,” rigorous compositions of shapes, grids, and colors rendered in pencil and paint in coherence with strict instructions and diagrams to be followed in executing the work. LeWitt made over 1,200 of these works in his career, through a visual vocabulary in strong alignment with Minimalism, despite his rejection of the movement.
4. Pablo Picasso: A prolific and tireless innovator of art forms, Pablo Picasso impacted the course of 20th-century art with unparalleled magnitude. Inspired by Primitivism and developments in the world around him, Picasso contributed significantly to a number of artistic movements, notably Cubism, Surrealism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism.
3. Shepard Fairey: A major street artist, Fairey rose to prominence in the early 1990s through the dispersion of posters, stickers, and murals, related to his Obey Giant campaign, which yielded an international cultural phenomenon. Fairey’s iconic poster of President Barack Obama was adopted as the official design associated with the presidential campaign and encapsulates a number of recurring concerns in the artist’s work, including propaganda, portraiture, and political power.
2. Willem de Kooning: A first-generation Abstract Expressionist, de Kooning is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. In 1950s New York, when painters like Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline were moving away from representational imagery toward pure abstraction, de Kooning maintained a commitment to the figurative tradition, developing a signature style that fused vivid color and aggressive paint handling with deconstructed images of the female form—a then-controversial body of works that has become known as his “Women” paintings.
1. Andy Warhol: Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art—he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color.