Artist to Watch

10 Artists to Watch This August

10 Artists to Watch This August
The artist, actress, and muse Tilda Swinton. Photo via

From rising stars like Elizabeth Jaeger to the crossover celebrity Tilda Swinton, here are the artists everyone will be buzzing about this month.

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Beverly Semmes
CODE Art Fair, August 26 - August 28

Copenhagen’s inaugural CODE Art Fair opens August 26 with an exciting line-up of artists including New York based artist Beverly Semmes. Known for her over-sized dresses and wall-to-wall installations, as well has her large ceramic vessels, Semmes is sure to impress in Copenhagen. Since she began exhibiting in New York in the early ’90s, Semmes has offered a feminist perspective manifest in highly tactile sculpture. We’re looking forward to seeing her work at the fair, featured in an exhibition of works that combine new and old media with paint, curated by Brooklyn-based writer and curator Ryan E. Steadman and New York based multimedia artist and curator Ryan Wallace.

Marc Ohrem-Leclef
Baxter St., August 17 - September 3

As the Olympic Opening Ceremonies begin this Friday in Rio de Janeiro, photographer Marc Ohrem-Leclef has never been more relevant. His photography series "Olympic Favela" (2012) documents the slums in downtown Rio, where families have been forced to relocate as the city demolishes their homes to make room for sport facilities and tourist accommodations. In his provocative images, evictees hold emergency flairs like Olympic torches as they stand in front of their disappearing homes, simultaneously symbolizing urgent desperation and steadfast pride. As a finalist in the Camera Club of New York’s Annual Juried Photography Competition judged by Mickalene Thomas, Ohrem-Leclef is exhibiting work in a three-person exhibition at Baxter St. Gallery opening August 17. 

Nayland Blake
James Fuentes, August 5 - September 11

Exploring notions of same-sex love, interracial desire, and bigotry, Nayland Blake taps into his own bi-racial and sexual identities. His puppets, theatrical performances, and costumes exaggerate exercises in role-playing—the artist’s effort to try on another type of “skin” via drag and sadomassochistic performance. Blake will exhibit his work this month at James Fuentes in a group show that also includes artists Jessica Diamond, Peter Halley, and Robert Morris. The exhibition entitled "Bad Faith" offers “examples of how modes of protest can be located in aesthetic and materialist practice” during a moment of political and social instability. 

Florian Morlat
The Pit, August 6 - September 11

German-born and Los Angeles-based artist Florian Morlat works in a constructivist-Pop style that combines humble materials like cardboard and wood, with absurdist figurative gestures referencing pop icons like the Beatles. The multimedia artist will join Adrianne Rubenstein, Allison Miller, Erik Frydenborg, Nora Shields, and Nick Kramer in a group show at The Pit. To kick off their third year of programming, the Los Angeles gallery is hosting a party sponsored by NADA on August 6 that will also function as the opening reception for the aforementioned group exhibition, "We Like Explosions."

Adam McEwen
Seattle Art Fair, August 4 - August 7

The Seattle Art Fair tends to attract a somewhat tech-inclined collector base due in part to its historical reputation as the home of industry giants like Microsoft and Amazon. It’s fitting, then, that Adam McEwen’s contribution to the fair’s Projects section takes the form of exact, monolithic replicas of the IBM supercomputer, often cited as one of the inspirations behind HAL of the Tony Smith and Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. McEwan, who got his start in the world of conceptual art by writing fake obits for art world celebs like Jeff Koons, has rendered the machines in his favorite material of black graphite to create a pair of imposing sculptures that contrast sharply with the disembodied flow of information they suggest. 

Rirkrit Tiravanija
Dóttir Berlin, August 2 - August 6

The granddaddy of Relational Aesthetics himself is back to his old tricks in Berlin this month, taking over the Berlin outpost of the restaurant Dóttir (a celebrated standard-bearer for New Nordic cuisine) to serve up new interpretations of traditional Thai fare. Working alongside the New York-based chef Dalad Kambhu, Rirkrit Tiravanija continues his quest to reframe mealtime as an art experience by focusing on fresh tastes, good conversation, and communal sharing rather than the art-inspired trappings of much contemporary fine dining. If you missed out on the artist’s now-legendary pad-thai-fueled events of the 1990s, now is your chance to get in on the delicious fun.

Tilda Swinton
Film Forum, August 31 - September 13

While she’s best known for her work in front of the camera as an actress and fashion model, Tilda Swinton is no stranger to the art world, having long shown a preference for challenging avant-garde films (some of which she helped to produce) and even venturing into performance art in her 1995 piece The Maybe first shown at London’s Serpentine Gallery. For her latest project, she’s teamed up with the producer Colin MacCabe and director Christopher Roth to create four video portraits detailing the life of the influential, iconoclastic British writer John Berger, famous for his seminal book and BBC series Ways of Seeing. The short films—already generating some festival attention and accolades—follow Berger’s pastoral existence in his adopted home of Quincy in the French Alps, creating a vivid record of one of the most exciting 20th century intellectuals.

Jeff Lipschutz
Henry Taylor’s, August 6 - September 16

The third show at Los Angeles’s newly opened gallery Henry Taylor’s features early paintings by Jeff Lipschutz, the California native and University of Washinton professor of painting. The works on view represent a recently rediscovered series of works from 1981, all inspired by Lipschutz’s hometown of Eagle Mountain, CA, an desert Army training ground turned into a Kaiser Steel mining company town before being abandoned for good in 1981. This suite of small works—started as visual interpretations of his pulp novel Ten High in the early ‘80s—feature several recurring characters (including one very skinny horse) in a setting that looks like it’s already made the transition into a ghost town. The show is a family affair as well; it’s curated by Lipschutz daughter Yael and features a sculpture made with his son Mike.

Elizabeth Jaeger
Plaza Mercado, August 6 - September 4

Summer is a time experimentation in the art world, and it seems that the cool-kids New York galleries Tomorrow and Hester as well as the Dallas space AND NOW have caught the bug. The three programs have pooled their resources and artists to stage an exhibition entitled “An Idle Visitation” in the temporary venue of Plaza Mercado in San Francisco. Featuring works by artists including Darren Bader, Yanyan Huang, and Elizabeth Jaeger, the show takes its title from a poem by the Black Mountain College poet Edward Dorn. Given the combination of hip young artists and Dorn’s noted fascination with both critical theory and the tropes of the American West, San Fransiscan art viewers should expect the experimental spirit of summer exhibitions to pervade this brief show.



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