The World's Top Contemporary Artists
Best Installationists, Photographers, Sculptors, Mixed-Media Artists.



Untitled (Skull) (1984). By American
graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Top 200 Contemporary Artists (2014)
List of World's Best Visual Artists Born after 1945.

Contents

Who is a Contemporary Artist?
Characteristics
THE TOP 200 CONTEMPORARY VISUAL ARTISTS

 



Dog (1994) By Jeff Koons.
One of a series of stainless steel
"balloon dog" sculptures. See:
How to Appreciate Modern Sculpture.


Relationship Series No. 2 (2003)
By Chinese painter Yue Minjun.

Who is a Contemporary Visual Artist?

The term "Contemporary art" - often called "postmodernist art" usually refers to the era that follows "modern art". Therefore, since most art critics agree that modern art ended during the 1960s, contemporary art must refer to artworks created since the 60s. Unfortunately, few institutions agree as to the exact start date. Some say 1960; others, like Christie's auction house, say 1970; while the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York says 1977; and the London Institute of Contemporary Art (established 1947) champions a start date of 1947. Finally, it's worth knowing that the Tate Museum in London planned to open its own gallery of contemporary visual art, which would focus exclusively on art of the past ten years on a rolling basis.

Because of this confusion about dates, we have decided to use the birth date of the artist, as the defining characteristic for our Top Contemporary Artists. Only artists born in or after the year 1945 have been considered. Although this is an arbitrary decision - and automatically excludes such important figures as Gerhard Richter (b.1932), Christo & Jeanne-Claude (both born in 1935). Brice Marden (b.1938), Richard Serra (b.1939), Bruce Nauman (c.1941) and Gilbert & George (b.1943, 1942), to name but a few - at least it has the merit of clarity. Furthermore, it ensures that all list candidates were raised in the postwar world, and trained at the earliest in the mid-60s. As a result, this gives their art a guaranteed degree of postmodernity.

Characteristics of Contemporary Visual Artists

Contemporary or postmodernist artists typically are MORE concerned about (1) how art is made; or (2) how it is communicated displayed; or (3) how it is experienced by the spectator or visitor; and LESS concerned about the artwork itself, than their modernist forebears. They are much more interested in developing ideas and concepts - frequently employing mixed-media formats - than in handcrafting precious objects.

Luckily, just when postmodernism was emerging in the 1960s, several new types of art were being introduced - including conceptual art (pioneered by Yves Klein and the Nouveau Realisme movement), happenings; environments, installation art and assemblage; film and video art.

These new artforms allowed visual artists to tackle a range of new questions and extend the boundaries of visual art as they did so. Even the more traditional forms of fine art, like drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and architecture, began to be taught and practiced with reference to a more up-to-date set of values. Thus Georg Baselitz, for instance, had no compunction about painting his figures upside down; while Claes Oldenburg (b.1929) made sculptures out of giant 'apple-cores' and 'hamburgers'. Above all, 1960s artists began to explore how their artworks were experienced by the spectator. This attitude began with Pop Art and its attempt to make art recognizable and accessible to Joe Public. Former commercial artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist brought their advertising poster techniques to bear on the fine art market, and introduced a bright new style of imagery that delighted viewers and filled the art museums.

Postmodernist artists have taken this to a new level. Christopher Wool has continued and enhanced the Pop tradition of word painting begun by Pop artist Robert Indiana, twenty years before; Damien Hirst placed a pickled tiger shark in a cage and called it The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living; Richard Wilson filled a room with sump oil and called it 20:50. These ground-breaking installations - both showcased at the cutting-edge Saatchi gallery owned by art collector Charles Saatchi - represented a spectacular change on the usual type of museum exhibit and exemplify the new aesthetics of postmodernism.

For a selection of the top postmodernist museums,
please see: Best Galleries of Contemporary Art.

 

 

TOP 200 CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS

The following list of creative practitioners was compiled by our editor using a number of criteria and information sources, including: (1) sales results at art auctions (2) exhibitions at major institutions and galleries (3) assessments by the Royal Academy (4) internet search results over a 6-month period and (5) reviews in art magazines and online art publications.

NOTE: All Chinese artists are listed according to their first name (their family name): thus for example "Liu Bolin" is listed under the letter "L".

A
Marina Abramovich (b.1946)
Serbian Performance Artist, also involved in body art.
Tomma Abts (b.1967)
German-born abstract painter, Turner Prize winner.
Ai Weiwei (b.1957)
Chinese contemporary artist, noted for his sculptural installations, wood carving, video and photography. Also noted for his architectural designwork relating to the Tsai Residence (New York) and the Beijing National Stadium.
Ai Xuan (b.1947)
Chinese contemporary realist painter best known for his Tibetan figurative works and landscape paintings. Half-brother of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
Allora & Calzadilla (b.1974 and 1971)
US/Cuban avant-garde artist duo known for performance, sculpture, video and sound art.
Will Alsop RA (b.1947)
British architect, Stirling Prize winner, noted for modernist buildings typically distinguished by their bright colours and avant-garde forms.
Pawel Althamer (b.1967)
Contemporary Polish sculptor, part of the 'Kowalski Studio' at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts; creator of installations and video art.
Francis Alys (b.1959)
Belgian postmodernist artist involved in performance events which are recorded in video, photographs, painting, and animation.
Ron Arad RA (b.1951)
Israeli industrial designer, artist, and architect. Head of Design Products Department at the Royal College of Art.
Bryant Arnold (b.1970)
US cartoonist and caricature artist.
B
Banksy (b.1973/4)
Anonymous British street artist noted for his witty graffiti art and stencilled design work.
Matthew Barney (b.1967)
American artist involved in sculpture, photography, drawing and film. Includes sculptural installations combined with performance and video. Creator of The Cremaster Cycle.
Yael Bartana (b.1970)
Israeli video artist whose avant-garde photography, film, and sound works explore social, spiritual, and political issues.
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-88)
US graffiti painter, later mainstream artist.
Tony Bevan RA (b.1951)
Contemporary British painter, graduate of Goldsmiths' College.
John Bock (b.1965)
German multi-media artist best known for his performances. Noted for his environments made from found objects, and for video and film art.
Martin Boyce (b.1967)
Scottish avant-garde installation artist and sculptor, Turner Prize winner, best known for his installation 'Do Words Have Voices?'
Mr. Brainwash (MBW) Thierry Guetta (b.1966)
Street artist, filmmaker.
Ulla von Brandenburg (b.1974)
German postmodernist multi-media artist active in film, drawing, installation, and performance art.
Nick Brandt (b.1966)
British photographer, painter and filmmaker, noted for his portrait-style, close-up photos of African animals.
Steve Brodner (b.1954)
US satirical illustrator noted for his caricature art and cartoons.
Cecily Brown (b.1969)
British painter, noted for gestural figurative painting.
Glenn Brown (b.1966)
Contemporary British painter whose works borrow from the paintings and sculptures of Rembrandt, Dali, Auerbach, science fiction illustration and other works of popular culture.
Chris Burden (b.1946)
US avant-garde performance and installation artist, pioneer of body art.
Philip Burke (b.1956)
US Caricaturist noted for brash use of colour. Won Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for caricature of Dick Cheney (Vanity Fair).
C
Cai Guo-qiang (b.1957)
Chinese contemporary artist whose art draws on fengshui, shanshui paintings, science, flora and fauna, portraiture, and fireworks. Noted for his gunpowder drawings.
Raymond Campbell (b.1956)
British oil painter specializing in still life paintings of vintage wine bottles, sepia photographs and other tableaux. See also: Contemporary British Painting (1960-2000).
Maurizio Cattelan (b.1960)
Italian sculptor best known for his satirical sculptures, like La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), which portrayed the Pope John Paul II being struck by a meteorite.
Stephen Chambers RA (b.1960)
British engraver, printmaker, noted for use of colour.
Chen Danqing (b.1953)
Chinese painter initially a socialist-realist but best known for his famous Tibetan Series (Xizang zuhua, 1980) that influenced the emerging Native Soil Painting movement.
Chen Yifei (1946-2005)
Chinese classic-style painter. One of the leading oil painters of the Cultural Revolution, he was noted for his large-scale Mao Zedong portraits.
David Chipperfield RA (b.1953)
British architect, worked for Norman Foster and Richard Rogers. Professor of Architecture, Stuttgart; Visiting Professor at Yale University.
Ann Christopher RA (b.1947)
British sculptress, noted for postmodernist abstract sculpture.
George Condo (b.1957)
American contemporary multi-media artist, inventor of "Artificial Realism", the merging of traditional European Old Master painting with American Pop culture.
Eileen Cooper RA (b.1953)
English contemporary painter, printmaker, noted for stylised paintings of women/couples.
Stephen Cox RA (b.1946)
British sculptor noted for monolithic sculptures, site specific pieces in Italy, India, Egypt.
Tony Cragg RA (b.1949)
British sculptor, Turner Prize winner and Professor of Art, noted for contemporary sculptures and installations made from found materials.
Martin Creed (b.1968)
Contemporary installationist, Turner Prize winner, best known for his avant-garde installation "Work No. 227: The lights going on and off".
Gregory Crewdson (b.1962)
American photographer best known for carefully staged photos of American homes and neighborhoods, typically set in small-town America, featuring disturbing, surreal events.
John Currin (b.1962)
New York painter noted for satirical figurative paintings that borrow from a wide range of sources like the Renaissance, popular magazines, and contemporary fashion models.
Enzo Cucchi (b.1949)
Italian painter associated with Neo-expressionism, member of Transvanguardia group.
D
Ian Davenport (b.1966)
Young British Artist, Goldsmith's graduate, noted for his abstract painting and his experimental technique of pouring household gloss paint onto a tilted surface.
Grenville Davey (b.1961)
British postmodernist sculptor, Turner Prize winner, often minimalist in style. Uses everyday objects and 'readymades'.
Richard Deacon (b.1949)
Versatile Welsh abstract sculptor, Turner Prize winner.
Tacita Dean RA (b.1965)
Avant-garde British artist involved in film. Noted for conceptualism.
Jeremy Deller (b.1966)
Contemporary artist specializing in avant-garde mixed media, Turner Prize winner.
Anne Desmet RA (b.1964)
British printer specializing in wood engraving, linocuts, mixed media collages.
Rineke Dijkstra (b.1959)
Dutch Photographer who specializes in series of single portraits of adolescents, party-goers, and soldiers.
Mark Dion (b.1961)
American installationist who employs scientific presentations in his installations. Winner of Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001), Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2007).
Peter Doig (b.1959)
Contemporary Scottish figurative painter.
Marlene Dumas (b.1953)
South African painter now in Amsterdam, who focuses on oil painting and ink on paper. Also noted for collages, prints and installations.
Jimmie Durham (b.1940)
American-born sculptor best known for sculptures challenging conventional representations of North American Indians.
Michael Dweck (b.1957)
American art photographer best known for his surfer-photos in his photo-book "The End: Montauk, N.Y". Also noted for his other books "Mermaids" and "Habana Libre".
E
Olafur Eliasson (b.1967)
Danish-Icelandic avant-garde artist best known for sculptures and large-scale installations featuring the use of water, light and heat. See: Ice Sculpture.
Michael Elmgreen (b.1961; Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (b.1969; Norway)
Scandinavian contemporary installation artists whose work explores the relationship between art, architecture and design.
Tracey Emin RA (b.1963)
Young British Artist, best known for her experimental drawings, paintings, installations. Now also known for her activities as a curator.
James English (b.1946)
Irish still-life painter. See also: Contemporary Irish Artists.
Cerith Wyn Evans (b.1958)
Postmodernist Welsh conceptual artist, sculptor and film-maker.
F
Shepard Fairey (b.1970)
American street artist, graphic designer and illustrator best known for his Barack Obama "Hope" poster.
Fan Yang (b.1955)
Chinese artist and art critic, Professor of Nanjing University of painting department, director of China National Painting Academy Landscape Painter Institute.
Fang Lijun (b.1963)
Chinese contemporary painter, a leading member of the Cynical Realism movement, based on an emancipated post-collective, post-cultural revolution outlook.
Rainer Fetting (b.1949)
German Neo-Expressionist painter, member of Neuen Widen group.
Eric Fishl (b.1948)
New York postmodernist figure painter, noted for his voyeuristic pictures Bad Boy (1981) and Birthday Boy (1983), as well as his 9/11 canvas entitled Tumbling Woman (2001-2).
Gunther Forg (b.1952-2013)
German abstract painter, graphic designer, sculptor and architectural photographer, influenced by Abstract Expressionism.
G
Isa Genzken (b.1948)
German contemporary sculptor, noted for her use of concrete, plaster, wood and textile. Also noted for her collage art, installations, photography, video and film.
Rowan Gillespie (b.1953)
Irish figurative sculptor best known for "Irish Famine statues".
Liam Gillick (b.1964)
Young British Artist, Goldsmith's graduate, now noted for his installations and conceptual art.
Robert Gober (b.1954)
American postmodernist sculptor whose meticulously crafted works focus on familiar domestic objects such as sinks, doors, and legs. Also noted for his photography, prints, and drawing.
Nan Goldin (b.1953)
American experimental photographer best known for her series documenting New York's post-punk new-wave music scene, along with the city's post-Stonewall gay subculture, and other series on society's marginalized minority groups.
Andy Goldsworthy (b.1956)
British contemporary artist noted for his land art, sculpture and, photography.
Douglas Gordon (b.1966)
Scottish contemporary artist and Turner Prize winner, noted for his video works, installations and lens-based art.
Antony Gormley (b.1950)
British Sculptor, Turner Prize winner, noted for large scale outdoor works and indoor sculpture-installations.
Rodney Graham (b.1949)
Canadian multi-media avant-garde artist, associated with the Vancouver School, best known for film and video works, art photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, and installations.
Mark Grotjahn (b.1968)
American contemporary painter noted for his geometric abstract art, and his densely worked coloured pencil drawings.
Guo Runwen (b.1955)
Chinese painter and lecturer in oil painting at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, noted for hyperrealist figure paintings.
Sudobh Gupta (b.1964)
Indian sculptor, installation, painter, performance/video artist.
Andreas Gursky (b.1955)
German art photographer noted for architectural and other outdoor photographs.
H
Keith Haring (1958-90)
American graffiti artist noted for his public art in the streets and subways of New York, and for his heavy-handed sexual, political and activist style of imagery.
Mona Hatoum (b.1952)
Beirut-born Palestinian artist noted for her confrontational performance art as well as her sculpture, video works and installations.
He Jiaying (b.1957)
Chinese painter, trained in Gongbi painting, now a professor in the Tianjin Academy of Arts, noted for his figure painting and elegant colouring.
Thomas Hirschhorn (b.1957)
Swiss contemporary installation artist, formerly a graphic artist with Grapus group in Paris, now noted for his hypersaturated installations and junk art. Winner of Marcel Duchamp Prize, and Kurt Schwitters Prize.
Damien Hirst (b.1965)
Leader of the Young British Artists, Turner Prize winner, best known for installation consisting of pickled tiger shark.
Carsten Holler (b.1961)
Belgian avant-garde multi-media installation artist associated with the Relational Aesthetics movement.
Jenny Holzer (b.1950)
American conceptual artist best known for her large-scale public displays including projections on building exteriors and other architectural structures, as well as illuminated electronic displays.
Pierre Huyghe (b.1962)
French postmodernist multi-media artist best known for his film and video installations and public interventions.
I-J-K
Jorg Immendorf (1945-2007)
Contemporary German painter, sculptor, stage designer and professor of art.
Christian Jankowski (b.1968)
German multimedia artist who works mostly with video, installation and photography.
Nadav Kander (b.1961)
Fine art photographer best known for his documentary photographs taken in China along the Yangtze river.
Anish Kapoor (b.1954)
Anglo-Indian sculptor, Turner Prize winner, noted for his monumental public sculptures.
Mike Kelley (1954-2012)
Versatile American artist noted for his avant-garde found objects, textile banners, drawings, assemblage, collage, performance and video.
Neil K. Kempsell (b.1959)
Scottish cartoonist and caricaturist.
Michael Kenna (b.1953)
British art photographer noted for his sparse, minimalist black-and-white landscapes, typically shot in remote locations.
William Kentridge (b.1955)
South African contemporary artist best known for his drawings, prints and animated films. Also noted for his tapestry art and sculptures.
Anselm Kiefer (b.1945)
German painter and sculptor, student of Joseph Beuys and Peter Dreher, best known for his honesty in addressing controversial issues from recent history such as the Holocaust.
Martin Kippenberger (1953-97)
Highly talented but hard-drinking German contemporary artist who produced an enormous mixed bag of painting, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, lithography and installations. A central figure in the circle of German enfants terribles including Werner Buttner, Albert Oehlen, Markus Oehlen, Gunther Forg, Dieter Gols and Georg Herold.
Nick Knight (b.1958)
Fashion and art photographer noted for his iconoclastic views on beauty and for his honesty in tackling disability and racism.
Jeff Koons (b.1955)
Pop sculptor best known for his brightly-coloured stainless steel 'balloon dog' sculptures.
Joseph Kosuth (b.1945)
American installation and conceptual artist, whose work strives to explore the nature of art rather than to create what is traditionally called 'art'.
Barbara Kruger (b.1945)
American conceptual artist best known for her black-and-white photographs overlaid with captions in Helvetica Ultra Condensed or Futura Bold Oblique fonts.
Sebastian Kruger (b.1963)
German acrylics painter, pioneer of New Pop Realism.

NOTE: For important fairs and other events in the postmodernist calendar, see: Best Contemporary Art Festivals.

L
David LaChapelle (b.1963)
American fashion and fine art photographer best known for his elaborately staged (and often digitally-manipulated) photographs of celebrities and fashion models in fantasy settings.
Michael Landy RA (b.1963)
Young British Artist best known for his performance installation Break Down (2001).
Frans Lanting (b.1951)
Dutch-born art photographer whose groundbreaking nature and animal photographs work have had an important influence on governments' conservation policies.
Liu Bolin (b.1973)
Chinese photographer, sculptor and performance artist, noted for his "Hiding in the City" series.
Mark Leckey (b.1964)
British artist, Turner Prize winner, noted for his collages, performance and video art.
Annie Leibovitz (b.1949)
Celebrated portrait photographer noted for her photographs of celebrities, typically composed in elaborate and imaginative set-ups. One of the most influential art photographers of the postmodern era.
Li Wei (b.1970)
Postmodernist Chinese artist who mixes photography and performance art to create interesting illusions of reality.
Liang Xue (b.1956)
Chinese contemporary landscape painter, influenced by surrealism, best known for carefully worked paintings characterized by elaborate and detailed brush work, and typically bathed in an eerie light.
Liu Dawei (b.1945)
Chinese brush painter noted for his figure paintings chronicling the daily life of the minority races of Northwest China.
Liu Wei (b.1965)
Chinese contemporary multi-media artist involved in performance art, video installation, drawing, sculpture, and painting.
Liu Ye (b.1964)
Contemporary Beijing painter best known for his vividly coloured paintings of childlike figures, and his cartoon character Miffy the bunny.
Richard Long (b.1945)
English sculptor, land artist, photographer, painter, winner of the Turner Prize, for which he was shortlisted a record four times.
Robert Longo (b.1953)
American painter and sculptor best known for the writhing figures in his "Men in the Cities" series.
Luo Zhongli (b.1948)
Chinese realist painter best known for his portrait Father and other studies of the people of southwestern China. Now Dean of Sichuan Art Institute.
M
David Mach RA (b.1956)
Scottish artist noted for installation, sculpture, collage.
Sally Mann (b.1951)
American art photographer noted for her books of black-and-white photographs of young women and landscapes: including, At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women (1988) and Deep South (2005).
Christian Marclay (b.1955)
Swiss-American mixed media artist whose work explores the realtionship between sound, noise, photography, video, and film.
Steve McCurry (b.1950)
Magnum member whose career in photojournalism and art photography has embraced war reporting as well as portraits, including the famous 'Afghan Girl'.
Jonathan Meese (b.1970)
German contemporary multi-media artist involved in drawing, collage art, painting, sculpture, performance and installations.
Julie Mehretu (b.1970)
Ethiopian-born artist, based in New York, known for her large-scale, densely layered abstract paintings and etchings.
Beatriz Milhazes (b.1960)
Brazilian avant-garde painter whose vibrant, colourful canvases juxtapose cultural imagery from Brazil with references to western modern paintings.
Lisa Milroy RA (b.1959)
Anglo-Canadian artist graduate of Goldsmiths College best known for her still life painting.
Marilyn Minter (b.1948)
American artist noted for her art photography, paintings and video (Green Pink Caviar, MOMA, 2009), much of which typically combines erotica with glamour and high-fashion imagery.
Hideaki Miyamura (b.1955)
Japanese-born ceramicist renowned for his iridescent glazes, which change colour when seen from different angles. They include a gold glaze, and the "starry night" glaze on a black background.
Matt Mullican (b.1951)
American postmodernist conceptualist and mixed media artist, noted for works combining automatic drawing with imagery suggestive of Outsider Art, or the Art Brut of Jean Dubuffet.
Vik Muniz (b.1961)
Brazilian artist, sculptor and photographer, best known for his Neo-Pop imagery.
Takashi Murakami (b.1962)
Prolific Japanese 'superflat' artist whose work embraces fine art painting and sculpture as well as 'manga' (Japanese comic book graphics) and 'anime' (Japanese animation).
N
James Nachtwey (b.1948)
American photojournalist and art photographer, noted for his images of war in Iraq, the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia.
Yoshitomo Nara (b.1959)
Japanese artist whose unsettling Pop Art sculptures and paintings typically depict cute kids and animals who on closer inspection are quite threatening.
Cady Noland (b.1956)
American postmodernist conceptual sculptor and installation artist, whose work explores the failed promise of the American Dream.
Simon Norfolk (b.1963)
Documentary and landscape photographer best known for his photographs of the war in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and the genocide in Rwanda.
O
Humphrey Ocean RA (b.1951)
British painter best known for his portrait of Philip Larkin, and his etching, Black Love Chair, for Paul McCartney's 2007 album Memory Almost Full.
Hughie O'Donoghue RA (b.1953)
Irish artist noted for his large-scale abstract Expressionist painting.
Albert Oehlen (b.1954)
German contemporary painter, influenced by Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, often associated with the Neue Wilde movement; uses collage and computer-aided design (CAD).
Chris Ofili (b.1968)
Young British Artist, Turner Prize winner, noted for his multi-layered painting, but best known for works incorporating elephant dung.
Roman Ondak (b.1966)
Slovakian postmodernist artist noted for his drawings, installations, performance art.
Julian Opie (b.1958)
Influential contemporary British painter, sculptor, printmaker and conceptual artist. Also noted for his LED imagery, public installations and CAD designwork. But perhaps best known for his unique minimalist-Pop style of portraiture.
Damian Ortega (b.1967)
Mexican Neo-Dada sculptor, installationist, political cartoonist.
P-Q
Cornelia Parker RA (b.1956)
British sculptor, conceptual and installation artist, best known for Cold, Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991).
Martin Parr (b.1952)
Documentary photographer noted for his dark humour (as illustrated by his books like The Last Resort and Small World) and critical view of contemporary culture.
Eric Parry RA (b.1952)
British architect, noted for Holburne Museum of Art, winning design in the Architects' Journal Retrofit Award.
Giuseppe Penone (b.1947)
Italian Arte Povera draftsman, painter, sculptor and installation artist many of whose avant-garde works use highly unconventional materials.
Dan Perjovschi (b.1961)
Romanian artist, caricaturist and cartoonist noted for political drawings and comic strips, as well as monumental works such as those in the Prague National Technical Library.
Grayson Perry (b.1960)
English ceramic artist, known mainly for his classical brightly coloured vases. His ceramic art typically contains a strong autobiographical element, including references to "Claire", his female alter-ego.
Susan Philipsz (b.1965)
Scottish contemporary artist and Turner Prize winner best known for her sound installations.
Richard Prince (b.1949)
Contemporary US artist noted for his "re-photography" and appropriation art. Also known for his abstract expressionist painting.
Marc Quinn (b.1964)
Young British Artist and postmodernist sculptor best known for controversial imagery such as Self (a frozen sculpture of his head made from 4.5 litres of his own blood).
R
Fiona Rae RA (b.1963)
Young British Artist, now Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy, London.
Neo Rauch (b.1960)
Contemporary German installationist and painter, whose paintings reflect the influence of socialist realism, along with Surrealists Giorgio de Chirico and Rene Magritte.
Robert Risko (b.1956)
US Caricature artist, known for his retro airbrush style. His drawings are published regularly in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Vanity Fair, and Esquire.
Pipilotti Rist (Elisabeth Charlotte Rist) (b.1962)
Swiss experimental artist specializing in video and audio installations.
Ugo Rondinone (b.1964)
Swiss mixed-media artist whose works (sculptures, paintings and other contemporary art forms) explore themes of fantasy and desire.
Thomas Ruff (b.1958)
German photographer, a pupil of Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Dussseldorf Art Academy, alongside Andreas Gursky, Candida Hofer and Thomas Struth, best known for his figurative and architectural portraits.
S
Anri Sala (b.1974)
Albanian avant-garde artist best known for his installations and video art.
Jenny Saville (b.1970)
British painter, famous for her obese female nudes.
Julian Schnabel (b.1951)
US Neo-Expressionist painter noted for his "plate paintings" (large-scale pictures set on broken ceramic plates) but now best known for his film work.
Thomas Schutte (b.1954)
German contemporary multidisciplinary artist whose work embraces many different types of sculpture, as well as architectural installations, small-scale architectural models, watercolour painting and lens-based art.
Sean Scully (b.1945)
Irish oil painter noted for his monumental 'striped' abstract paintings.
Tino Sehgal (b.1976)
Anglo-German postmodernist artist noted for his avant-garde installations, performance art and choreography.
Andres Serrano (b.1950)
Contemporary New York photographer best known for his controversial photographs of dead bodies as well as the use of body waste in his work, as in "Piss Christ".
Cindy Sherman (b.1954)
Art photographer noted for her series of 'staged' photos and surrealist compositions.
Kiki Smith (b.1954)
US feminist artist, involved in drawing, printmaking and sculpture, noted in particular for her Body Art which typically explores gender issues and the politics of feminism.
Nedko Solakov (b.1957)
Bulgarian contemporary artist noted for drawings, paintings, and narrative-driven installations which explore the contradictions of human existence.
Simon Starling (b.1967)
English experimental artist and Turner Prize winner, known for his conceptual art and installations, notably Shedboatshed.
Rudolf Stingel (b.1956)
Italian artist whose conceptual painting, sculptural works and installations challenge contemporary ideas about art in general and painting in particular.
Jock Sturges (b.1947)
American photographer, best known for his highly controversial pictures of nude adolescents and their families, in books like The Last Day of Summer (1991) and Radiant Identities (1994).
Hiroshi Sugimoto (b.1948)
Japanese fine art photographer influenced by Marcel Duchamp, as well as the Dada and Surrealist movements. His work also deals with the transience of life, and the conflict between life and death.
Do-Ho Suh (b.1962)
South Korean sculptor and installation artist noted for avant-garde site-specific installations.
Donald Sultan (b.1951)
American painter, sculptor, and printmaker, best-known for his large-format still life painting as well as the use of industrial materials (tar, enamel) in his art.
T
Mario Testino (b.1954)
Italian fashion photographer noted for his glamorous fashion photography including his photo-shoots for Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.
Tian Liming (b.1955)
Chinese painter best known for his figure drawing in ink and wash. Now Dean of the Department of Chinese Painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
Wolfgang Tillmans (b.1968)
Art photographer, Turner Prize winner. Recent winner of £25,000 Wollaston Award.
Rirkrit Tiravanija (b.1961)
Postmodernist Argentina-born Thai artist whose installations typically involve structures for living and socializing.
Rosemarie Trockel (b.1952)
German mixed media artist influenced by Joseph Beuys, noted for her assemblages, sculptures and kinetic works. Also noted for her avant-garde installation "A House for Pigs and People".
Spencer Tunick (b.1967)
US Art photographer best known for his installation and performance photography of mass nudes.
James Turrell (b.1943)
American contemporary artist whose avant-garde works and installations focus on light and space.
Keith Tyson (b.1969)
British multi-media artist, Turner Prize winner, involved in painting, drawing and installation.
U-V
Marja Van Kampen (b.1949)
Irish-Dutch colourist painter.
Jack Vettriano (b.1951)
British subject painter, genre-artist.
Bill Viola (b.1951)
Pioneering US video artist.
W
Mark Wallinger (b.1959)
English contemporary performance artist, installationist, sculptor and Turner Prize winner, best known for Ecce Homo (1999), his sculpture for the empty 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square.
Conor Walton (b.1970)
Irish classical and still-life painter.
Wang Guangyi (b.1957)
Chinese artist, a leading figure in the Chinese Political Pop art movement, noted for his Great Criticism series of paintings borrowing images from the Cultural Revolution as well as brand names from modern western advertising.
Wang Yidong (b.1955)
Chinese contemporary painter noted for his portrait art, especially his studies of people of his native region. Winner of the Golden Prize of the Sixth National Art Exhibition at the National Gallery, Beijing.
Gillian Wearing RA (b.1963)
Young British Artist, and Turner Prize winner, noted for her lens-based art (video and photography).
Boyd Webb (b.1947)
New Zealand conceptual photographer and installation artist, noted for his avant-garde constructions and assemblages which he then photographs.
Rachel Whiteread (b.1963)
English sculptor, Turner Prize winner, best known for House, a concrete cast of the inside of a Victorian house, the holocaust memorial sculpture in Vienna, and her resin sculpture for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.
Fred Wilson (b.1954)
US "reinstallation" artist noted for his 'museology art'. Now a Trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Richard Wilson RA (b.1953)
British postmodernist sculptor, installation artist. Two-time nominee for Turner Prize. Noted for 20:50 (1987) an oil installation at the Saatchi Gallery.
Christopher Wool (b.1955)
US post-conceptual artist in the tradition of Robert Indiana, best known for word paintings comprising large, black, stenciled letters on white canvases, such as Apocalypse Now (1988).
Richard Wright (b.1960)
British contemporary painter and Turner Prize winner best known for his short-lived decorations of architectural spaces, featuring geometric patterns in paint and gold leaf.
Erwin Wurm (b.1954)
Austrian postmodernist sculptor best known for his "One Minute Sculptures", captured in photos or on film.
X
Xu Bing (b.1955)
Chinese artist, noted for his calligraphy, printmaking and installations. Winner of the International Association of Art Critics Award for "Best Installation in a Museum, New England" (2006).
Y
Yang Feiyun (b.1954)
Chinese contemporary painter born in Inner Mongolia, associated with the school of Chinese Realism, best known for portraits of his wife. Teaches at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
Haegue Yang (b.1969)
South Korean experimental artist, whose avant-garde works (often featuring venetian blinds) include the installation Approaching: Choreography Engineered in Never-Past Tense (2012) for Documenta 13 in Kassel.
Yue Minjun (b.1962)
Postmodernist Chinese painter noted for oil paintings, watercolours and statues of himself, frozen in the act of laughing: see Relationship Series No. 2 (2003). Art critics associate Yue with the Chinese "Cynical Realist" movement.'
Z
Zhang Xiaogang (b.1958)
One of the best known contemporary Chinese painters, a symbolist and surrealist, best known for his Bloodline series featuring monochromatic, stylized portraits of Chinese people, set in stiff, formal poses deliberately imitative of family portraits from the 1950s and 60s.
Zeng Fanzhi (b.1964)
Chinese expressionist painter best known for his his seminal Mask series.
Zhou Chunya (b.1955)
Chinese contemporary painter and sculptor, noted for his blend of traditional Chinese painting and Western Neo-Expressionism, probably best known for his brightly coloured Green Dogs series.
Heimo Zobernig (b.1958)
Austrian contemporary painter and multi-media artist, best known for his avant-garde grid-like paintings, sculptures, videos and room installations.

 

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