The Power of Art
The Forbes annual 30 under 30 are billed as “young disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs who are impatient to change the world; the brightest stars, that represent the creative and intellectual best of their generation; engaging, surprising and incredibly hardworking.”
Among these are seven young artists featured in the Art & Style section – Sam Falls, JR, Jacob Kassay, Toyin Odutola, Adam Pendleton, Lucien Smith and Artie Vierkant. Working in painting, photography, drawing, digital media, performance and public intervention, they are already making a big impression and exhibiting in major institutions all over the globe. So what are these young incendiaries making art about, what are their ideas, and how are they altering the world?
Twenty–nine year old French artist JR is innovating his way around the streets of Paris, Kenya, Haiti, LA, Rio de Janeiro and Switzerland to name a few, and in his 2011 talk as Ted Prize winner he asked the question, “Could art change the world?” And while JR conveys that art cannot change the world directly, what it can do is change our perception of the world, make us stop, think and consider. It has the power to leave a mark on society, to impact what we see and the way we view the world, providing a neutral forum for dialogue and exchange.
JR uses his camera, paper and glue to create mammoth works of art, pasting huge images on public walls that highlight and expose the people and politics behind each place. His work is about empowerment, community, collaboration and recognition with true social intent, portraits that literally change the face of a landscape and its outlook. Projects include Women are Heroes, which celebrates the formidable backbone of societies around the world, Unframed, which uses appropriated images to make poignant commentary on local actions, and most recently Inside Out, where JR calls for collective participation and creation to share the untold narratives of people and their communities, asking us to stand up for what we care about, and contribute to the influence of art.
American artist Adam Pendleton (28) sprung to fame for his 2007 performance The Revival and is the youngest artist to be signed to the blue–chip Pace Gallery since the 1970s. His conceptual practice also incorporates painting, collage, photography and video, decontextualizing image and language to create new systems from which to reinterpret historical account in order to redefine the present and talk freely about the future. His practice is underwritten by a manifesto termed ‘Black Dada’ and is steeped in legacy, process, African American aesthetic theory, the questioning of representation, symbolism, experimentation and a dismantling of civilisation. His most recent monotone paintings are pared back expressions of inquiry that unhinge the constraints of history and attempt to wash away the proverbial writings on the wall.
Born in Nigeria, raised in Alabama, Toyin Odutola (27) makes drawings from photographs using ballpoint pen and marker that attempt to re–characterize “blackness”. Her practice is in essence a question of identity, using layers of ink to build a complex picture of society’s projections and the geography of skin. The work is a personal exploration of darkness, and she speaks about the immersive, meditative nature of the process, but one that ultimately sheds light on racial sentiment in a very simplistic form. Her use of black pen is deliberate, the ink is never truly black and the work becomes more about her experience and treatment than the aesthetics. Within her study of identity Toyin also investigates androgyny and gender, often emphasizing surprising features of masculinity and femininity in the opposite sexes.
Whether pioneering new media or ideas, exploring social, political or environmental issues, redefining existing norms or questioning notions of actuality and possibility, these are just a smattering of the world’s young artists who are creating relevant work with a prevailing message. JR spoke of a wish to turn the world inside out using art. The Artfetch wish is to be a part of this bigger picture. Art has the ability to change the way we think, the way we understand and experience the world. We want to bring you the next generation of artists who are doing that, because we believe in the lasting power of art.
Katie Tsouros is Co–founder & CEO of Artfetch.
Image: Adam Pendleton, Nothing But a Man, 2012. Courtesy of Pace Gallery.
Published 18/01/2013 www.artfetch.com
The New Dubliners
KTcontemporary was featured in an article by Lisa Abend in AFAR travel magazine on the people and places making waves in the underground art scene in Dublin. Some of the facts are a little off (namely my age - unfortunately!) but it’s a great read and a nice story for Dublin. Click on the photo to link through to the full article.
This is a pretty good list of New Year’s resolutions. Click on the picture to link through to read one more from Artfetch: if you love it, don’t let it get away.
Start-Up of the day: Artfetch -
Artfetch was featured as Start-Up of the day in the Daily Business Post on Nov 13th 2012. Read the article at the link above.
Fetching Idea for Emerging Artists -
Great article in the Irish Times Start-Up Nation section published Nov 15th 2012. Read it at the link above.
So Far So Good -
Click the link above to see me chatting to Sophie Morris at Archie Talks in Dublin in October about my entrepreneurial story, how I started KTcontemporary and what’s to come for Artfetch. It was an absolute pleasure and a delight. Go to Artfetch.com to Sign Up, follow our journey and be the first to receive an invitation to the Artfetch launch in 2013.
It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new year… and it’s going to be good.
It’s been over 4 months since my last post and a lot has happened in that time. I opened and closed my last show at KTcontemporary, a beautiful, heartbreaking and fitting three film installation by theatre practitioner and visual artist (and a dream to work with) Brendan Fox titled Crossed Line. It was an epic exhibition about the beginning of an end and a perfect culmination to a wonderful time at the transformed Curves gym in Donnybrook. I hardly had a moment to get sentimental however before the bulldozers moved in to redevelop the site and I was officially hurtled full time into Artfetch - a new project that has been slowly in the making since March of last year. Artfetch is an ecommerce platform that will globally select, curate and sell emerging contemporary art online. Building a team of expert curators (or Artfetchers!) we’re hand-picking the art stars of the future coming out of leading 3rd level insitutions around the world, making contemporary art buying approachable and accessible on a global scale. And boy has it been a whirlwind - in such a short amount of time I’ve learned so much, changed so much (both in myself and my day to day life) and met some incredibly smart and engaged people working in this entirely new industry. We launched our temporary website during a hectic Frieze art fair in London in October, which hosts the Artfetch blog and regularly churns out great content from all around the world, building the community ahead of the full site launch later in 2013 - check it out at Artfetch.com and Sign Up for updates. That followed with a great Dublin Web Summit and F.ounders week when our city was awash with inspiring tech entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world (all part of my new life). Later that month I was invited along to speak at the Archie Talks as a previous winner of the Archie Boost prize and tell the highs and lows of my (short) entrepreneurial story thus far - it was great fun to share the stage with three very accomplished young women, the lovely Sophie Morris, Louise Hodgson and Nicola McClafferty, and a definite highlight to my year. In November I briefly stepped back into my curatorial shoes as judging chair for the inaugural Creative Arts Category at the international Undergraduate Awards and curated the exhibition to go alongside the UA Summit in Dublin. Artist Claire Chaney was announced as winner and I was delighted to be there to see her receive a medal of recognition from President Michael D Higgins alongside 38 of the world’s leading undergraduate students in their respective fields. Another great event that saw some wonderfully bright minds descend on our city in the form of both winners and speakers. I rounded off what has been a truly extraordinary year with a trip to Paris Photo, a day in my new life learning to code in London and pitching challenges and solving problems at Wayra. 2012 was a year that opened up remarkable doors for me and unearthed a newfound appetite for more experience, challenge, discovery, learning and possibility. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people that I’ve met that have ignited that in me, the confidence that I’ve built, the realisation that there are endless opportunities if you believe in your capability and the little bit of fearlessness that has started to brew. Life really is what you make it, and we have the world at our feet. It’s all to play for in 2013, so make it count.
P.s. KTcontemporary is a year old now! Woop!
Had a party, got drunk… Happy Holidays!Xx
(Image by KTcontemporary artist Enda Mac Nally)