Artist to Watch

21 Artists to Watch This September

21 Artists to Watch This September
The acclaimed artist Nástio Mosquito will have his U.S. solo debut at MoMA this month.

The end of summer means the beginning of the art season, and September is kicking off the fall with a calvacade of major shows spotlighting efforts by some of the most significant artists of our tim—as well as by their feisty rising challengers. Here, commensurate with the wealth of art going on view, is a supersized edition of Artists to Watch to ring in the month.

Deitch Projects, September 17 - October 22

How does a lovable, often cranky, controversy-loving gadfly go from the margins of the art world to its epicenter? Just ask Walter Robinson. Once a part-time artist with a day job as editor of a string of bohemia-chronicling publications, the last one being Artnet (which under his long reign was a must-read for its crafted intelligence, not churning omnipresence), Walter is in the midst of a one-man artistic renaissance. His luxuriant paintings of vices and voyeuristic pleasures were celebrated in his first solo museum show earlier this year, at Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art & Design; his work is appearing in gallery shows and art fairs around the world; and, this month, he will be the subject of Jeffrey Deitch’s first show heralding the dealer’s triumphant return to SoHo. Also, Zombie Formalism, that term he coined (on Artspace) for the most recent movement in painting? It has become so thoroughly embraced by the culture that it was featured in a question on “Jeopardy” last week.

Cooper Cole, September 9 - October 15

The beauty of Andrea Pinheiro's work is in it's straightforward simplicity. The artist scans photographs and prints them large, before painting on them with acrylic. The photographic image, it's digital reproduction, and the acrylic abstract painting sit as separate medium-specific layers, while also compressing into a single composition. We're excited to see what the Canadian artist cooks up for her third exhibition at Cooper Cole, which has described the upcoming show as embodying "an inescapable sense of second hand-ness [that] haunts this space and this work, reflecting what has at times been an uncomfortable, object-burdened and obstacle-riddled existence for the artist." Spooky.

Steve Turner, September 10 – October 8

Artspace has been all about Jonas Lund this summer. We’ve featured him in “Nordic Artists to Know” as well as in “5 Rising Stars to Discover at the Inaugural Code Art Fair” this month, and we can’t wait to see his upcoming solo show, “Your Logo Here,” at Steve Turner. Known to critique the art market with his pointed conceptual artworks, the artist is now selling advertising space on his canvases, which will eventually become filled with logos from participating advertisers, and hung among an installation involving a ping-pong competition against a robot. Game on.

yours mine & ours, September 11 - October 16

The inaugural show of the new Lower East Side gallery yours mine & ours (co-founded by Artspace’s own Patton Hindle) is built around a single painting, The Yellow Kiss by Nicole Wittenberg. It’s a bold move for a brand-new space, but the inclusion of Wittenberg’s preparatory studies for the piece in the form of monotypes, line drawings, and acrylic on paper works promises to provide a rare window into the process of an artist who is getting increasing attention these days. The winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters's award for best young figurative painter a few years back, she was recently curated into a show by the artist Alex Katz and now has growing market buzz. 

Honor Fraser, September 10 – October 22

We’re still not quite over Ry Rocklen’s show at Feuer/Mesler this past January, where the artist exhibited a series of dual-sided sculptures that sit on shelves with mirrored backs, enabling the viewer to see both sides of the piece at once. For his upcoming show at Honor Fraser, the Los Angeles native will use a similar method to present re-formulations of found objects from the urban L.A. landscape, as part of a larger exhibition that also includes quirky assemblages that integrate gym locker room fixtures and objects inspired by the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Salon 94, September 8 - October 22

Brooklyn’s own Lorna Simpson returns to Salon 94 for her third solo show with the gallery, bringing with her a new group of paintings representing the latest development in her evolving approach. While she’s built her reputation around understated yet subtly searing political works in film, photography, and video, her new show of collaged works on multipaneled clayboard will be the first time her paintings will be brought together in a exhibition since they debuted at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Anton Kern, September 8 - October 22

Though most people know the painting phenom Jonas Wood for his mysteriously irresistible renditions of potted plants, his meticulous, Matissian oeuvre also contains interiors, portraits of athletes (and their arenas), snapshot-like pictures of people (often from odd angles), and landscapes. Now, with his new show at Anton Kern, add to this rangy body of work intimate paintings of the people closest to the artist: his family, his friends, and, in a rare bout of self-portraiture, Wood himself. Considering that his canvases tend to have a coolly analytical gaze, it will be interesting to see how he does with feelings, and warmth. 

Andrea Rosen, September 9 - October 8

Andrea Zittel’s domestic spaces, lifestyle design hacks, modular furniture, and utilitarian apparel are always best experienced in person, which is why we’re eagerly anticipating her upcoming exhibition at Andrea Rosen. (We're still in love with her floating island dwelling, which has recently been turned into a (paid!) artist residency.) Since 2000, the artist has been living in the New Mexican desert in an attempt to investigate contemporary perceptions of personal freedom and liberation—which for Zittel, seems to involve evading building regulations and safety codes. 


Hauser & Wirth, September 8 - October 22

One of the most-anticipated shows of the fall season, Rashid Johnson’s unveiling of a large body of new work at Hauser & Wirth’s cavernous Chelsea space is expected to celebrate a reboot of sorts in his meteoric career. Famous early on for his shea-butter, black wax, branding-iron, and African-American memorabilia sculptures, either on wood, mirror, or tile backdrops, Johnson continued exploring that work until it verged on the over-familiar—though the market never seemed to mind. Then, last fall, he burst free with a triumphant show at the Drawing Center of sketchy soap-and-wax portraits on tile that seethed with thoughtful, antic, fretful life (and had a killer soundtrack by Melvin Van Peebles). Now, following an ambitious architectural installation at the Garage Museum in Moscow, Johnson is poised to show his eager audience where that new swerve in his work can go.

Gagosian West 21st Street, September 20 - October 29

When he was a young man in West Berlin, having crossed over from the East, Georg Baselitz initially painted stunning monumental patchwork portraits of life among the rubble and then, in the ‘70s, became an international sensation by painting expressionistic figures upside-down, an aesthetic gambit that to many suggested the topsy-turvy nature of life in postwar Germany. (For his part, Baselitz said it was to “emphasize surface” in his canvases.) In the ‘90s, the artist began exploring other orientations, grew more abstract, and ventured into sculpture. Now, at 76, Baselitz has returned to his inverted style with extra pathos and gravitas, and his new work going on view at Gagosian has the lived-in resonance of late-period work. While some of his recent comments about female artists struck many as upside-down in a different way (“women don’t paint very well”), this show is still required viewing.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, September 17 - January 29

Billed as “the most comprehensive survey to date” of the work of Frances Stark (herself billed as “the visual poet laureate of the Internet age” by the Los Angeles Times), MFA Boston’s upcoming show brings together pieces from the past 25 years of the Los Angeles-based artist’s varied and occasionally shocking career. (In particular, her animated chronicles of her adventures in sex chatrooms with a varied assortment of global strangers.) The exhibition will forgo a simple chronological organization in favor of showcasing the recurring references and jokes that characterize Stark’s work in video, drawing, and text. 

Gladstone Gallery, September 9 - October 22

Kanye West may have claimed the great Matthew Barney as his personal Jesus, but just look at his “Famous” sculpture on view at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles—no true disciple of the letting-it-all-hang-out godhead of freaky video art would so demurely cover up his own manhood with a delicately positioned blanket, even while Kanye presents his wife’s truly famous naked posterior for all to see. Well, Jesus walks in Chelsea this month at Gladstone, where an early pair of videos that Barney filmed of 1991 performances at the gallery—which involved such “Cremaster”-era motifs as petroleum jelly, Houdini, and palindromic footballer Jim Otto—will be on view alongside other related pieces, bringing the work together for the first time in a quarter century. Expect a high likelihood of seeing that renowned scholarly subject of the late art historian Leo Steinberg: Jesus’s penis. 

MoMA, September 23 - October 30

Awarded the 2015 Future Generation Art Prize and, perhaps even better, called “the coolest guy in art” by, Nástio Mosquito is earning tons of buzz all over Europe right now. (Yes, that’s a mosquito pun—he also has a hell of a name.) So, why haven’t you heard of him yet? Luckily, no less an institution than MoMA is about to give the Angolan artist his first U.S. solo show this month, introducing the work of a commanding provocateur who uses a mix of performance, rap, and video to touch the hottest buttons in Africa-West relations, from comparing Nelson Mandela to Hitler (“They were both determined people,” he explains) and announcing that he has bought the United States, but will rule semi-benevolently. The presentation will include a live performance on September 23rd, so mark your calendars now.

Tanya Bonakdar, September 8 - October 22

Eurasia’s premier artist collective is back on the New York scene with a new show entitled “Afteur Pasteur.” The group has built its boundary-pushing reputation through its playful yet pointed explorations into the oft-ignored histories of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, which take the form of publications and performance-lectures as well as more traditional exhibitions. If the phrase “research-based practice” makes you squirm, S&T’s take should be a potent antidote, since they bring consequential ideas—such as the conflict of democratic Western values with their bloody historical deployment in the region—to life through irresistibly engaging work.

Queer Thoughts, September 8 – October 15 

David Rappeneau’s strange, hyper-sexualized, spatially distorted drawings remind us of both our teenage pasts, and some sci-fi version of the future. Using ballpoint pen, and (often fluorescent) marker, Rappeneau represents youth culture in a style all his own. The warped renderings and stretched perspectives make the banal scenes he depicts almost hallucinatory. His subjects, apathetic millennials smoking cigarettes, taking pills, swiping iPhones, and generally looking bored, aren't strangers to the fashion world or to Tumblr—but in the world of fine art, these "cool kid" cartoon characters are an unexpected treat. 

Sperone Westwater, September 10 - October 29 and Philadelphia Museum of Art, September 18 - January 8

America’s favorite polymath artist is the subject of two shows opening this month, both of which take his early and highly influential video piece Walk With Contrapposto from 1968 as their jumping-off point. Both the institutional and gallery show (produced in conjunction with one another) will show seven new digital projections with sound riffing on this seminal work, which shows Nauman—one of our most respected living conceptualists—doing what can only be described as an exaggerated “silly walk” down a narrow corridor.

Tate Modern, September 14 - January 8

The Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam made his mark on Modern art with his brooding, semi-surreal paintings, which move beyond the simplistic ideas around primitivism versus bourgeois values that so occupied his contemporaries to break new ground in the increasingly post-colonial world he inhabited on both sides of the Atlantic. His show at Tate Modern is his first major retrospective in the U.K. in the past 20 years and promises to be another crucial step in the contemporary reevaluation of modernism as an intrinsically international movement.

Rachel Uffner, September 10 - October 23

The emerging Turkish-born, New York-based artist Hayal Pozanti has been killing it recently—with recent shows at Duve in Berlin, Jessica Silverman Gallery in New York, Halsey McKay in East Hampton, and the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Pozanti's graphic, geometric abstract paintings are amalgamations of letters and numerals from an alphabet the artist has invented. We have no idea what her images "say," though we hear there is a legend somewhere that offers up some clues.

bitforms, September 10 - October 16

For the start of their 15th-anniversary season the tech-focused Lower East Side gallery bitforms is presenting a show by one of their first artists, Casey Reas. His chosen medium is software in its many manifestations, which he uses to create highly conceptual works that evade simple categorization. Reas's show will feature a mixture of old and new work showcasing the artists ongoing interest in program-as-performance, presenting his software pieces as evolving happenings rather than static works.

National Museum of African American History and Culture, September 24 - perpetuity 

The 82-year-old artist Sam Gilliam is just crushing it these days. “I’m outlandishly famous,” he marveled to the Washington Post, and man oh man is his newfound recognition, which has spanned nearly two dozen shows over the past two years and a surging market, overdue. A D.C.-based abstract painter who was doing as or often more interesting things than his white Washington Color School peers in the ‘60s, dying his paintings into orgasmically colorful fantasias and eventually liberating his canvases from their frame to dangle freely, he was effectively segregated out of art history. Now his city is making amends in a spectacular way, including his stunning 1969 painting April 4 on the walls of David Adjaye’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, where it’s red-stained purple field captures the deeply bruised atmosphere following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Called “the museum’s greatest example of the synthesis of art and history” by the New Yorker it also looks as fresh, lively, and contemporary as any painting you’re likely to find in a gallery today. Watch out, Sterling Ruby.

Sprüth Magers Berlin, September 17 - October 29

Sterling Ruby seems to have gotten the message. Leaving his tie-dyed abstractions behind, the brilliant L.A. artist has been throwing himself every more fully into the 3D arena with massive installations, soft sculptures, universally celebrated ceramics, videos, and even fashion, which he has pursued with his friend the new Calvin Klein designer Raf Simons. This month, at Sprüth Magers, he will present new works that demonstrate his near infallibility as an experimentalist: a suite of Calder-esque mobiles (he calls them “Scales”) made from colorful tin cans and all kinds of other fun detritus that recall a number of heady European modernist movements but somehow still manage to wear their intelligence lightly, like a tie-dyed bandana. 



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