Companion of Honor, Royal Academician, and Order of Merit recipient David Hockney is one of the most influential (not to mention endearing) artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. His colorful aesthetic is influenced by his fondness for sunny Los Angeles and associated with the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. At 79 he shows no sign of slowing down; the beloved British painter, printer, photographer, and draughtsman recently discovered a newfound love for drawing on iPads because “you don’t have to clean up!” and celebrated the release of his gigantic new 70-pound monograph titled David Hockney: A Bigger Book. Mr. Hockney’s vivid works remain showcased in major exhibition spaces around the world.
It’s not often that we witness a 101-year-old artist attending the grand opening of her own major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, but Carmen Herrera is no ordinary woman. Largely inspired by the Abstract Expressionist movement that rose to prominence in the 1940s and 50s, the Cuban Minimalist painter remained relatively unknown until the early 2000s when she sold her first work at the age of 89. Now enjoying well-deserved international acclaim, Ms. Herrera proves that it’s never too late to find success.
You’ve seen her arresting portraiture on the covers of countless Vogue and Vanity Fair issues, exhibited in world-class exhibition spaces, and discussed at length in influential publications; Annie Leibovitz has one of the most recognizable aesthetics and impressive subject portfolios. Her remarkable haute photography has gained worldwide recognition for its conceptual novelty, as well as her striking use of light and rich color.
The Ghanian artist has been captivating international art audiences with his giant, building-sized sculptures for the past two decades. Ingeniously made from used metal, including thousands of bottle tops sourced from local African alcohol recycling depots, Anatsui’s tapestry-like sculptural hangings are evocative and culturally reflective. Having gained international attention in 1990 when he was one of five sub-Saharan artists to show at the Venice Biennale for the first time, Anatsui continues to challenge preconceptions of sculpture today with his site-specific interventions seen in New York by the High Line and on the facade of London’s Royal Academy of Art.
At 87, the Japanese artist is as prolific now as she’s ever been. Her Infinity/Mirror Room installations were the must-try experiences of 2016 with the likes of Katy Perry and Victoria Beckham going Instagram crazy for them. Novelty aside though, Kusama, with her trademark red bob and polka-dot aesthetic, has been around the art block. She managed to infiltrate the male dominated New York art scene of the 1960s with her happenings that involved naked participants. She had a platonic relationship with reclusive artist Joseph Cornell until his death. She’s been an art dealer. She collaborated with Louis Vuitton on a capsule collection. She set a world record for a female artist at auction and let’s not even mention the many survey shows, one of which is touring Northern America in 2017. And all this while being a permanent resident – out of choice we might add – of Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill. Her work might be dotty, obsessive, repetitive, ordered yet chaotic, but there is no denying its allure and obvious therapeutic effect on both maker and viewer.
Fascinated by folklore and myth, everything from Mary Magdalene to Walt Disney’s Fantasia has inspired the bold, gaudy, and psychologically-charged works of the 81-year-old Portuguese artist. With a career spanning half a century, Rego might have eased up on the eroticism, but her paintings, drawings, and prints still address contemporary themes of sexual politics, family dynamics and the role of women.