It’s a male-dominated list of most popular contemporary artists during the month of November, though we have to agree it’s quite an impressive one. Truth be told, some of these names never leave our list anyway, and their popularity only gets to grow due to our featured articles dedicated to them. During the last 30 days, we wrote about Action painting and the heritage of Jackson Pollock, so the fact that he tops our list comes as no surprise. We also wondered how expensive Retna pieces are at auctions, so, you’ll guess, he’s somewhere in there too. Or, for instance, we talked about Shepard Fairey’s endeavours in Paris and his installation at the Eiffel Tower. But then again, we have Banksy who did a year’s job with Dismaland this summer, so I would expect to see him every month for the rest of eternity. Don’t forget to check our artist database for more of the world’s greatest creatives!
Did you know that Jackson Pollock’s first name is Paul? Can you also imagine the controversy behind his first works of Action Painting - or gestural abstraction? The critics called it “a joke in bad taste”, yet the movement, Jackson Pollock’s art included, remain one of the most influential moments in the arts out there. It was a time when painting became much more than applying paint on canvas or whichever support. It became a dance, a ritual, a form of expression like no other, and people are still fascinated by it - collectors especially!
Now here’s a new name for you. Case Maclaim is a pseudonym for Andreas von Chrzanowski, a German graffiti artist who is an often guest of our weekly Street Updates. Case Maclaim is also one of four members of the Maclaim Crew, founded in 2000. The group is known for their remarkable photorealistic images of portraits and body forms, to which they assign new meanings. Case paints on different kinds of surfaces, including pieces of cardboard of various sizes, which gives his art an additional flare, as these pieces are often glued or stapled together.
Why breaker? Because at the opening of his latest solo show at Soze Gallery in West Hollywood, Retna went a little crazy and smashed three sculptures out of nowhere. We’re still not sure whether we’re meant to perceive it as a performance of some kind, so we prefer to forget all about it. Instead, we can focus on his actual works - did you know that Retna’s most expensive piece sold at an auction reached as much as $48,000? Wait, so maybe breaking things was meant to help raise these prices by bringing attention to the subject…
David Choe is one of the recurring artists on our list of most popular contemporary artists, which means we’re bound to run out of things to say about him. So, maybe you didn’t know this, but the American artist painted the walls of Facebook’s first office. He had just come out of prison (because he stole art supplies, apparently), and he asked $60,000 for his decorative skills, but all he got were some stocks. It was the year 2005, and Facebook was nowhere near popular. But, ten years later, that stock of David Choe’s is worth about $200 million.
And speaking of those who just won’t leave, here he is again. I think I’ll keep referring to Banksy as a “he”, because that’s how artist Logan Hicks referred to him during our podcast earlier this year. They had met once, so I guess we can safely say that Banksy is a man. He’s been quite quiet ever since the Dismalaznd frenzy, although at one point Facebook went crazy over an event which invited people to finally meet the artist in person. But, fear not, that turned out to be fake. They even put some poor random guy’s picture and said it was Banksy. Don’t trust the Internet! Well, not always anyway.
We’ve got another newcomer, people. Kurar is a pseudonym of a French contemporary artist whose real name we actually don’t know. What we do know is his street work, which often addresses social and political issues. In our iconic Street Update #100, we included his mural entitled A Girl & TV, painted in Berlin as part of the Urban Nation group show. It sets a perfect example of his artistic oeuvre - a child gets blinded by television and its content, almost to the point of brainwashing. Furthermore, she seems really captivated by it. We can’t wait for more from Kurar!
At number seven of our most popular contemporary artists list we have the legendary Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, whom the photography public likes to like as much as it likes to hate. His photographs were supposed to be exhibited at this year’s Paris Photo fair in Paris. Due to the terrorist attacks at the French capital, the fair closed early, only to catch up by organising a Gallery weekend, held on November 28th and 29th. Nobuyoshi Araki’s work was exhibited at Taka Ishii Gallery from Tokyo.
On November 30th, Paris was once again in the headlines, but this time because it is hosting the world’s largest conference on climate changes to date. Among those who call to action amid alarming signs that our planet might not survive us, there was Shepard Fairey, whose Earth Crisis artwork is currently suspended between the first and second floor of the Eiffel Tower. Known for his humanitarian work and environmental activism, Shepard Fairey created a spherical artwork which features interlocking mandala shields and ornamental floral designs.
After a month’s break from our list, he’s back to number nine. The works of Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz will be shown at this year’s Miami Art Week, as part of the fourth edition of CONTEXT Miami art fair. Bringing him along there’s Black Book gallery from Denver, and to keep him company there’s Ben Eine, for example. The gallery will offer two works based on the artist’s recently painted murals. In addition to that, Alexis Diaz and Snik will paint some murals in Wynwood, Miami’s arts district, while in town.
To wrap it up, we have another debutant, in form of a talented photographer from Argentina. Romina Ressia is a fine art photography maker whose works are influenced by fashion photography, surrealism and classical imagery. Her photographs are very reminiscent of Old masters paintings and bear strong symbolism. Earlier this year, she was one of the five female artists celebrated at Arcadia Contemporary in New York City, in an exhibition which explored the representation of female body in time. Romina Ressia lives and works in Buenos Aires.
Below, you will find a more elaborate list of most popular contemporary artists in Widewalls database. You can also compare their ratings in the past months!