As the 45th edition of Art Basel begins, we’ve collected data
from our preview to let you know which artists under 40 you should keep your
eye on at the fair. From Ryan McGinley, the youngest artist to present a solo
exhibition at the Whitney Museum, to installation, performance, and video
artist Xu Zhen, here’s our list of ten artists under 40 who are received the
most follows on Artsy during our Art Basel preview.
: In her film and video animations, sculpture, drawing, and photography,
Camille Henrot—a winner of the prestigious Silver Lion Award at the Venice
Biennale—examines systems of knowledge and the way in which disparate cultures
and locations have been represented throughout art history. Henrot is currently
the focus of a solo exhibition at the New Museum, “The Restless Earth
,” featuring new and recent drawings, video, and
primarily in the streets of Johannesburg, Robin Rhode uses walls and sidewalks
as the stage for his exuberant, narrative interventions and performances.
Captured in serial photographs and stop-motion videos, Rhode’s work explores
urban youth culture, socioeconomic inequality, and outgrowths of
: Claiming that everything she does “relates back to painting,” Anna
Betbeze eschews the canvas and turns instead to an assortment of textiles,
which she dyes, cuts, scorches, shaves, and otherwise distresses, transforming
them into lush, oversized, painting-like wall hangings. Though she has worked
with fabric, leather, and terrycloth (in towel and robe form), she focuses on
white, shaggy Flokati rugs.
: Installation, performance, and video artist Xu Zhen combines humor and
irony in his works, offering critique of political and art-world systems of
human exploitation. Xu’s works, made both individually and (since 2009) through
his collective practice
, have frequently been censored due to their
violent or erotic themes.
: Ryan McGinley burst into prominence in his early twenties after
circulating copies of a self-published portfolio of photographs. He has since
become known as the youngest artist—at the age of 23—to present a solo
exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work orbits around the
life and youth of family and friends in contemporary culture, particularly in the
Lower East Side.
: Alicja Kwade’s mixed-media works manipulate mental perceptions and
physical experiences of how the body inhabits space and time. Kwade frequently
uses imperfect doubling, mirror images, and repetition in her practice.
: Taking aesthetic cues from film,
fiction, and her native city of Los Angeles, Alex Prager produces Technicolor
photographs with a retro-glam sheen and disturbing, dark undercurrents, which
suggest the uneasy expectation of impending danger. Resonances with the films
of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch and the photographs of
artist Ryan Gander’s eclectic output defies categorization, encompassing
installations, sculptures, photos, texts, and reproductions that present
wittily inconclusive narratives about art, culture, and the artist’s personal
experiences. Featured in the Parcours sector at Art Basl this year, Gander
often uses text to infuse objects with a sense of “in-joking,” his titles
making self-conscious references to various practices of art making and
: Sanya Kantarovsky does not like to hear his work discussed neatly in
terms of figuration or abstraction; instead, he relates it to the graphic,
calligraphic, and historic influences that guide his practice. Kantarovsky
produces video installations and sculptures, though he is best known for his
paintings; his signature works often have thinly applied, wiped, or scraped
layers of paint, and feature narrative scenes populated by isolated, sinewy figures.
: Twin brothers Simon and Nikolai Haas run their eponymous furniture
design and fabrication studio out of Los Angeles, from which they create
everything from set design to wearable art, masks for Lady Gaga to gold-leafed
furniture for Louis Vuitton stores. Nikolai apprenticed as a master carver and
Simon studied blacksmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design—and together
their pieces, while sleek, still retain some traces of artisanal handiwork.