Each May, Art in America brings our readers a sampling of “new talent,” with a special focus on artists whose practice makes them stand out in a sea of competitors vying for attention. “Practice” is very much the operative word here: at a time when many artists are becoming known more for their social-media presence than for their creative endeavors, and when careers are bolstered more by the market than by critical attention, the editors, critics, and curators who contributed to our selection this year remained centered on what matters. As you’ll discover in these pages, the artists showcased are all contributing in some resonant way to the ongoing dialogue around art, aesthetics, and the culture at large, from Alexander Si, who turns an anthropological lens on the culture of whiteness; to Suneil Sanzgiri, whose films engage with anticolonialism; to Laurie Kang, who treats photography as a form of installation art (and who has contributed a compelling print to this issue); to the other notable talents featured. With this issue, we continue a tradition developed over more than a century of this magazine: writing art history as it is being made.
With the art market resurging after a brief pandemic slump, young artists find themselves on the front lines of the kind of speculative art economy that results from extreme income inequality. “When you see prices like this for artists who are right out of the gate,” adviser Lisa Schiff told the Art Newspaper after a round of auctions this past fall, “the work is, more than anything else, a tradable commodity.” In our Issues & Commentary section, A.i.A. associate editor Emily Watlington calls attention to artists who are working within that system, using sales of their art to redress income inequality by redistributing their own revenue.
Finally, there’s a sustained look by artist-writers Anne Rochette and Wade Saunders at the masterful, multivalent, tough-to-categorize work of American sculptor Charles Ray, who is having a career-making moment, with multiple international exhibitions. As the authors describe it, Ray’s single-minded dedication to art-making could well serve as a model for artists starting out today: “For half a century, Ray has remained true to the course he set as a young artist at the start of his adventurous career.”
—Sarah Douglas, Editor in Chief
The artist’s signature “exploded” artwork, Cold Dark Matter, began with a literal detonation in 1991.
Liberation, Invention, Reinvention by fields harrington with Katherine McKittrick
An artist and a gender studies professor discuss the troubled history of Black technical innovation.
by Chen & Lampert
Artist-curators Howie Chen and Andrew Lampert offer tongue-in-cheek takes on art world dilemmas.
Sue Taylor on Rosa Bonheur’s Horse Fair, 1852–55
The immense—and hugely successful—market scene helped make Bonheur the era’s most famous animalier.
Ambiguity Embodied by Wade Saunders and Anne Rochette
Charles Ray’s sculptures are enigmatic, but four concurrent museum shows make clear his historical standing.
Zachary Fine on Gary Indiana’s Fire Season: Selected Essays 1984–2021; plus related titles in brief.
ISSUES & COMMENTARY
Spread the Wealth by Emily Watlington
Some artists are making the personal redistribution of wealth an integral part of their practice.
Q&A with Annika Finne, assistant conservator at Modern Art Conservation.
Profiles of ten artists to watch, as selected by A.i.A. editors and a global group of critics and curators. Plus a print by Laurie Kang.
LIAO WEN ⋅ ALEXANDER SI ⋅ ASTRID TERRAZAS ⋅ LAURIE KANG ⋅ SUNEIL SANZGIRI ⋅ KRISTI CAVATARO ⋅ HODA KASHIHA ⋅ WIDLINE CADET ⋅ ASMA ⋅ DIANA SOFIA LOZANO
by Simon Wu
Many artists are working to elude overly simplistic interpretation and cross-cultural legibility.
Artist-filmmakers Sky Hopinka, Tiffany Sia, and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa discuss strategies for exposing global inequities.
A conversation on the nature of historical lineage with Sholeh Asgary, André Magaña, Keli Safia Maksud, and Ronny Quevedo.
Dallas Museum of Art
“Art for the Future: Artists Call and Central American Solidarities”
Tufts University Art Galleries, Boston and Medford, Massachusetts
Ryan Lee, New York
Alexander R. Bigman
52 Walker, New York
Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe
Museum of Arts and Design, New York
Quay Quinn Wolf
Jack Barrett, New York
Lubov, New York
Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis
Oxy Arts, Los Angeles
Campeche, Mexico City