The first month of 2016 is already behind us, if you can believe it, and it’s time we take a look at the most popular contemporary artists in it. If you remember our 2015 top list, January’s hierarchy isn’t all that different, except that this time, we have a woman on it - and in top 5 too! If we don't count the lady within the Herakut duo, that is. The trio covering the top 3 spots doesn’t seem to have any intentions to move from there anytime soon, especially the familiar name which has been inviolable at the No. 1 spot pretty much ever since we started compiling these lists. We have one newbie as well, in form of a very particular artist from Slovenia, but more about him - and all others - after the scroll!
First and foremost, I would like to thank Banksy for being so active. I mean, when an artist just won’t let go of being the most popular contemporary artist out there, it gets tedious to write about him over and over, month after month. Plus, we know nothing about the guy. Banksy’s Steve Jobs mural recently got defaced in Calais, but that didn’t make him mad. Instead, he painted a Les Misérables-inspired piece to protest the use of tear gas in France’s migrant camp, thus putting his name in the headlines again. What a way to start the year.
Abstract Expressionism seems to be awfully popular these days, and as a natural consequence, so is Jackson Pollock. The latest news related to the late artist involves the meticulous restoration of one of his paintings, performed by the specialists of the Museum Kunstsammlung in Dusseldorf, Germany. Pollock’s Number 32, created in 1950, will be carefully “washed” with a device which blasts wheat starch on the canvas under high pressure, without being applied to the paint. It will involve 300 hours of work, and to do that there will be the museum’s director of restoration, Otto Hubacek. Good luck!
David Choe visited Cambodia recently, where he spent time working as an investigative journalist with the Emmy award winning VICE / HBO team. He also painted a piece in Phoenix, AZ, with fellow artist Miles Mac. In Cambodia, he also got to collaborate with ARYZ, and in Copacabana, he made quite a beautiful piece with Herbert Baglione. David Choe is all over the place, and he’s on our most popular contemporary artists list again, at no. 3.
The proud representative of female creatives this month is French photographer Bettina Caroline Germaine Rheims, much better known as simply Bettina Rheims. This influential artist and a self-proclaimed “photographer of the skin” marked the years 1980s through her stunning images of the nude, mostly female, but also through works that addressed and explored gender, androgyny and transsexuality. Bettina Rheims also probably photographed your favourite celebrity, as among her portraits one can find Madonna, Catherine Deneuve, Kylie Minogue, Claudia Schiffer…As we speak, her works are on view at Paris’ Maison Européenne de la Photographie.
The works of celebrated Japanese photographer will soon be on view as part of a very particular event - the exhibition of the personal collection by another Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami. It is no wonder, really, given that Nobuyoshi Araki’s art marked his country’s art history on a grand scale and has influenced many other photographers and artists of every genre. His images continue to blur the line between being erotic and pornographic, drawing inspiration from the traditional shunga woodblock artworks that have been highly controversial in the past. "I'd like to take photos similar to shunga,” he once said, “but I haven't reached that level yet.”.
One of the icons of the Italian 20th century art scene, Lucio Fontana redefined painting with his Concetti Spaziali, his concepts of space, where the monochromatic canvas becomes a home to deep cuts and holes. As such, they make the art lovers go bonkers, and so his works are now an inevitable part of many collections, fairs like Arte Fiera Bologna, The Armory Show or ZsONA MACO, exhibitions, auctions, you name it. Lucio Fontana’s works are currently on view at Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, through February 14th.
Cacao Rocks, a young urban artist from Greece, became a regular on our list of most popular contemporary artists, and because of many good reasons too. Recently, he painted a portrait of Andreas Embirikos, a Greek surrealist poet and the country’s first psychoanalyst, in the beautiful colors of blue, yellow and brown. He also painted the streets of Athens, in collaboration with fellow creative Rimon Guimaraes from Brazil. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this talented man, as we’re sure we’ll see him again next month.
A completely new name on our list is Tadej Vaukman, a photographer and flip-street skater from Slovenia, who is mostly known for a series of images of a curious name Dick Skinners. It depicts seven years of a carefree, intoxicated life of the artist as a skater, and it is as if you’re looking at pictures of the wildest college party ever. There’s a lot of naked people - even men, go figure, who make a human pyramid. So yes, if you don’t feel like seeing vomiting, pissing, excessive drinking to the point of complete disgust, don’t look at his images.
In December 2015, Alexis Diaz created his first sculpture ever. Entitled Hipocampo, it was presented at Art Basel in Miami Beach, and could be found at Wynwood Walls. As curious as his drawings and murals, it saw a hybrid animal “made” of many other animals, like a whale, a dragon of some sort, or maybe a dinosaur, and a horse. He also visited Poland recently - in the city of Lodz, he painted a beautiful mural composed of a tree growing out of a heart and surrounded by butterfly wings. We can’t get enough of this guy!
Jasmin Siddiqui and Falk Lehmann have already started making new artworks in 2016, as they also continued to be present on our most popular contemporary artists list. On their website and Facebook page, we noticed some fresh Herakut works on paper and canvas, executed in their trademark figurative style and accompanied by quotes in form of letters to past. The German artist duo still seems to be under the impressions from their trip to Northern Jordan, where they painted with Syrian children in the UNHCR refugee camp. We’re sure more artworks are on their way as we speak!
Here, take a look at the complete list of most popular contemporary artists for the month of January 2016. Make sure you visit our database for more!