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Top 6 Admirable Modern Artists and Why You Should Follow Their Journey
Modern art pushes the boundaries and makes a statement, and the same is true for the artists who create them. From mainstream to lesser-known artists alike, here are 6 of the artists who are leaving their mark on the art world and why you should follow their journey.
Yayoi Kusama is a world-renowned modern artist who has exhibited alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, inspiring more contemporary artists such as Yoko Ono and Damien Hirst.
Born in 1929, Kusama reportedly began experiencing vivid hallucinations at aged 10, which she describes as “flashes of light, auras or dense fields of dots.” When she had these visions, art was her escape, painting polka dots or “infinity” nets that she took directly from her hallucinations.
Kusama has always been open about her mental health, her phobias, and repeated hallucinations. Since the late seventies, she has resided in a psychiatric hospital near her studio, continuing to be active in the art world today.
Kara Walker is an Afro-American artist who tackles themes of slavery, problematic stereotypes, and slavery. She uses cut-out techniques and silhouettes to illustrate the Other, forcing us to confront the dark past and convey a strong message.
Ai Weiwei is a socially engaged artist, creating nonconformist and provocative pieces. Weiwei is heavily involved in the fight for human rights. He has audibly opposed the Chinese government, for which he has been famously beaten, locked up, and put under house arrest.
Born in 1945 in German, Anslem Kiefer came into the world at the marked end of the tragedy that was the Holocaust. Fascinated by Judaism and spirituality, Kiefer addresses Germany’s Nazi past head-on, wishing to express a German renewal within his painting.
Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, David Hockney is the world’s most expensive living artist. Most notably, Hockney incorporated allusions to his own homosexuality and queer culture into his work whilst homosexuality was still illegal in England.
He creates conspicuously gay art by painting self-portraits and incorporating discreet phallic elements into his imagery – making a bold statement without being unsubtle.
Hockney has always unapologetically celebrated queer culture in England and the US, where he settled in the bohemian area of Los Angeles. Over the years, he has become increasingly vocal in his unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Tracey Emin has been notably backed by famous art collector Charles Saatchi since early on in her career. However, she controversially crashed into public recognition after a live broadcast TV show about the Turner Prize. Two years later, she was nominated for the prize herself for an equally controversial installation, pushing the boundaries of social boundaries.
My Bed showed yellow-stained bedsheets, knickers with menstrual stains, and other ‘unhygienic’ elements that presented how ones’ bed looks when you are depressed and suicidal. Though some critics and the media criticized this work, Emin’s feminism and openness about her mental health are admirable.
Many modern artists are admirable in their activism, bold statements, and openness about their struggles. There are so many, in fact, that this list is far from exhaustive. With these 6 examples of incredible artists, you are ready to go forth and explore.