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  • David Hockney. ©David Parry: Royal Academy of Arts
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Most Popular Artists of January 2017

February 2, 2017
A philosophy graduate interested in theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

As we approach the end of the month, we take a look at the talented individuals who have marked it. As each month, our list is versatile, ranging from modern and contemporary painters, and sculptors to acclaimed urban artists. With the beginning of the new year, our list has changed a bit. While some of these names never leave our list anyway and their popularity is only growing, the selection also introduces new ones who have sparked your interest. Scroll down and discover the most popular names from our ever-growing database that have marked the month of January. See if your favorite made it to the list!

Featured image: David Hockney. © David Parry: Royal Academy of Arts; Petr Pavlensky, via pinterest.com; Jean-Michel Basquiat, via hottmz.com

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Jeff Koons - The King of Postmodernism

As one of the most influential and controversial artists of the post-war era, Jeff Koons has been regular on our list. Placing his art somewhere in between high and low culture, he often plays with kitsch and has managed to transform the notion of an artist to the cult of celebrity in the global market. The artist has recently participated in the lecture on the brain’s creative process at work organized by the Columbia’s University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. As the Zukerman Institute’s first artist-in-residence, Koons was joined by the Institute Codirector and Nobel laureate Eric Kandel and Ann Temkin of the MoMA the Museum of Modern Art.

Featured image: Jeff Koons, via dinakantor.com

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Henrietta Harris - Deconstructing Portraits

An Auckland-born artist and illustrator, Henrietta Harris is a newcomer on our list. Working with paper, pen, watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and occasionally gold leaf, she creates dreamlike and distorted portraits. Showing amazing technical skills, she makes memorable faces characterized by clean brushstrokes. Often described as a surrealist, the artist actually fuses naturalistic and surrealistic approach in her images of heads that seem to be dissipating like smoke, and doubled, fragmented faces, as if reflected in a broken mirror.

Featured image: Henrietta Harris, via stuff.co.nz

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David Hockney - The Gem of British Art

One of the most successful and recognized artists of our time, David Hockney has redefined the medium of painting for over six decades of creation. Famed for stylistic versatility, his works present us with a whole new creative dimension designed by an artist who never followed popular standards and patterns but rather chose to set his own norms. The year of 2017 will be an important one for this beloved British artist, as Tate Modern will host his most extensive retrospective in the world. Presented as a chronological overview and featuring a comprehensive selection of paintings, drawings, prints, photography and videos, it will trace his development from his appearance on the art scene up until today.

Featured image: David Hockney, via thetelegraph.com

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Pyotr Pavlensky - The Living Pain Artist

Often referred to as a ‘living pain’ artist, Pyotr Pavlensky is another newcomer on our list. He chooses performance art that often takes form of extreme acts as his political language. He considers the authorities’ reaction in advance and makes it a part of his performance. If the authorities act as an aggressive apparatus, then they act according to his scenario. After burning the headquarters of Russian Federal Security in protest, he has been subjected to the controversial trial that ended up with an order to pay a fine.  Last month, the artist and his family fled Moscow for Ukraine to avoid prison for what he claims are trumped up allegations of a sexual assault. Stating that the allegations illustrate Russian security services’ preference for underhand tactics, the artist plans to seek asylum in France.

Featured image: Pyotr Pavlensky, via thecalvetjournal.com

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Alexis Diaz - Depicting Metamorphosis

A Puerto Rican painter and urban muralist, Alexis Diaz is known for his chimerical and dreamlike depictions of animals in a state of metamorphosis. His captivating murals are characterized by a very detailed technique and line-by-line precision. Using tiny black brushstrokes on white to render his creatures, his pieces look like highly-detailed pen-and-ink drawings. Having a preference for wild animals, he often portrays those from the Savannah, blending them with other fantastical creatures.

Featured image: Alexis Diaz, via artpeoplegallery.com

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Jean-Michel Basquiat - The King of Train Graffiti

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat is artistically alluring and has brought to the forefront many of the dualities of the time. At the same time, these pieces are mainly dealing with social issues of the late 20th century. During his unfortunately short life and career, he has left an enormous impact on the art world. Producing over 1000 paintings and 2000 drawings by the age of 27, his pieces were always imbued with deeper meaning. Celebrating the life and art of the artist, the book Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe was recently honored with the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Book Award.

Featured image: Jean-Michel Bquiat, via knownpeople.com

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Pablo Picasso - A Legend

Being one of the most known and influential artists of his time, it is obvious why Pablo Picasso is a regular on our list. A versatile artist with unparalleled achievements who expressed himself in painting, sculpting, stage designing, poetry, playwright, and other areas, he has redefined artistic practice and its purpose. A few days ago, the French estate that served as Pablo Picasso’s final home was sold to international financier Rayo Withanage for $265 million. The property called L’Antre du Minotaure, or the Den of The Minotaur, housed over $1 billion in art upon the artist’s death, and it still retains original art and furniture.

Featured image: Pablo Picasso, via pinterest.com

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Anish Kapoor - The Influential Sculptor

Maneuvering between various scales of works, different materials and spaces, Anish Kapoor is regarded as one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. His work is distinguished by its boundless capacity to reinvent artistic language, in its monumental dimension as in its more intimate one. The artist has recently claimed exclusive rights to the world’s blackest black, but has also managed to acquire the pinkest pink illegally, despite being banned from using it. Announcing legal actions against the artist, the creator of the color Stuart Semple stated that “Anish has been very naughty and will be told off. Hopefully, that will teach him to be nice and share his colors.”

Featured image: Anish Kapoor, via domus.com

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David Hamilton - The Controversial Photographer

Due to the controversies that surround the life and death of David Hamilton, the artist is remaining at the top of our list. Best known for his photographs of early-teen girls that were often nude, the controversial photographer has been a subject of child pornography accusations more than once. Last year, Hamilton was found dead at the age of 83 in his apartment in Paris in a suspected suicide. Just a few days before he died, a French radio hostess accused him of raping her during a photoshoot at the age of thirteen. His suicide has left these allegations wide open for good.

Featured image: David Hamilton, via ephotozine.com

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Banksy - Back to Being Number One

Always ranking high on our list, it is no wonder Banksy is the most popular artist of the month of January. Always the topic of conversation, controversy, or even politics, he seems to be omnipresent and everything he does is immediately in the spotlight. The newly released documentary Saving Banksy follows the saga of one man’s quest to save an iconic graffiti work by the infamous street artist from being whitewashed by the city government or being ripped from the streets and sold at auction. In doing so, the film pulls back the curtain on an issue of the rampant dislodging and sale of street-art works against the will of artists.

Featured image: Banksy, wordpress.com