Artist to Watch

10 Artists to Watch This September


10 Artists to Watch This September
Bjarne Melgaard


Often called "the most famous Norwegian artist after Munch"—quite the sobriquet, that—Bjarne Melgaard has exploded into view in the past year, creating overwhelming and overflowing installations of his barbaric paintings and impeccable design sensibility at White Columns, Luxembourg & Dayan gallery, Venus Over Manhattan, the Armory Show, and Frieze New York. With his first solo show at Gavin Brown's Enterprise in the middle of the month, the busy artist—whose monumentally steroidal output gets funneled through a number of alter egos, including Rod Bianco, the Pink Panther, and BFBC Inc. (you can look up the acronym)—will find himself matched with a gallerist whose zest for for messy spectacle matches his own. 

Known for his riotously colorful sculptural paintings that fuse anthropological interests with oddball figuration, Ashley Bickerton first achieved prominence in the 1980s as a member of the Neo-Geo movement, but then decamped from New York's East Village scene to take residence in Bali. This month, his pugnaciously bright compositions will be returning to New York in his fourth solo show at Lehmann Maupin Gallery


For all of this outsize artistic production, Josh Smith savvily manages his exposure, tending to find exceptional venues for the boldly expressionistic, seemingly dashed-off paintings that bear his signature (often in large letters in the center of the composition). That choosiness pays off this month, making his walloping double-gallery show at Luhring Augustine—in Chelsea and Bushwick—a momentous event that everyone is sure to be talking about this fall. 


Death, ecstatic life, and the potential of the human spirit—these are a few of the monumental themes that the protean artist Matthew Day Jackson addresses in his work, which can range from delicate mechanized wall pieces to colossal, raw sculptural installations. All of these are now on view in his new solo show at Hauser & Wirth's leviathan of a gallery on 18th Street, with a spectrum of double-barreled art that includes multiple casts of his own skull and a 21st-century recreation of Rodin's Burghers of Calais.


Of all of the things Sol LeWitt is famous for—his "Sentences on Conceptual Art," his rigid geometric sculptures, his wildly colorful prints—his wall drawings are by far the most popular, engaging viewers on multiple conceptual planes by covering surfaces with punchily graphic, intricately made designs that are executed by teams equipped with the artist's exacting instructions. This month a sensational instance of these works are on view at Paula Cooper Gallery, where a 2,448-foot span of wallspace is filled with a particularly lush and complex piece, “Wall Drawing #564: Complex forms with color ink washes superimposed,” that was last seen at the 1988 Venice Biennale.  


Known as Adam & Olly, the photographic duo of South African-born Adam Broomberg and Britisher Oliver Chanarin captivated the European art world's attention earlier this year after winning the Deutsche Börse prize for their series War Primer 2, an appropriationist updating of Bertolt Brecht’s 1955 book of the same name that matched images of war with short poems expressing their essential meaning. This body of work—which the artists changed by adding photos from the world's post-9/11 battlefields—will now have enviable exposure in this year's edition of MoMA's "New Photography" show, a perennially buzzy showcase known for launching artists to wide renown.


The photographer Richard Kern occupies a squirrelly place in the art world, applying his edgy downtown aesthetic to portraits of youngish girls—think American Apparel models, but perhaps a bit more wholesome-looking—who pose nude in casual, everyday settings. A frequent video contributor to Vice TV, Kern is debuting a new series of work at Feature Inc. called Medicated Inc., presenting photos of girls in various states of undress holding their prescription medication bottles, and he has also published a new book, Contact High, that shows his models smoking pot and lounging about rather contentedly. 


A hit at last year's dOCUMENTA 13 for her video installation In Search of Vanished Blood, the Indian artist Nalini Malani makes powerful work dissecting her country's social and political climate and religious history with fearless intensity—an approach that won her this year's Fukuoka Prize. Now Malani's dOCUMENTA video is coming to Galerie Lelong in Chelsea, offering viewers a chance to see a concentrated example of her shadow-play-esque art, and she is also being celebrated in Japan with a solo show at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. 


Roxy Paine is fascinated by organic processes, and creates ambitiously high-tech works that replicate them in the gallery setting—from giant sculptures of trees constructed from gleaming metal piping that are informed by the way a tree grows to robotic painting and sculpting devices that churn out synthetic artworks, standing in for his own arms and hands. This month the artist will seize a prominent stage in the Windy City during EXPO Chicago, when he will inaugurate Kavi Gupta's new gallery with a meticulous recreation of a fast-food restaurant, made entirely out of wood.


The two-time Turner Prize nominee Sean Scully has earned a passionate following for his abstract paintings and prints compose of rich squares and bands of color that interlock with one another, like a parquet floor executed by a carpenter who takes lavish liberties in departing from convention. At the end of the month, his early work will get a bright spotlight at The Drawing Center in "Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals," showing a group of drawings from 1974-5 that have not been seen in 30 years, together with a notebook providing illuminating clues to his process and two large paintings.


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