Trending Artists Under 40 at Art Basel 2014

Artsy Editorial
Jun 17, 2014 7:53PM

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.

10. Camille Henrot: 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 installations.

9. Robin Rhode: Working 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 post-Colonialism.

8. Anna Betbeze: 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.

7. Xu Zhen: 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 MadeIn Company, have frequently been censored due to their violent or erotic themes.

6. Ryan McGinley: 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.

5. Alicja Kwade: 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. 

4. Alex Prager: Taking aesthetic cues from film, fashion photography, pulp 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 Cindy Sherman and Gregory Crewdson abound in her work.

3. Ryan Gander: Conceptual 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 display.

2. Sanya Kantarvosky: 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.

1. The Haas Brothers: 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.

Explore Art Basel 2014 on Artsy. 

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019