Across the globe, galleries and museums are filled with universally acclaimed great works of ‘modern art’. You’ll know the names: Picasso, Pollock, Giacometti, Brancusi, Bacon, Freud, Alexander Calder and co. Their pieces can fetch hundreds of millions at auction and private sale. Their artistic styles – surrealism, cubism, expressionism and abstract expressionism – are obsessively studied and imitated. Their dates range from the 1860s to the 1970s, with a particular flourishing of talent in the 1950s and 60s.
But who – if anyone – is going to exert a similar influence over the public imagination in a couple of generations’ time?
Artistic achievement is always easier in retrospect. ‘Contemporary art’ is, inevitably, a much woolier proposition than the neatly labelled movements of previous decades. With a few notable exceptions, both critics and the public need time to give them the perspective, and proof of longevity, that declares a true masterpiece.
But it is possible to sniff out a potential new honour roll. By examining currently active artists in terms of ambition, critical reception and market prices, we can get some hints about who looks set to stand the test of time. Here are eight who might well make it into the art history books for years to come…
1. Zeng Fanzhi, born 1964 in Wuhan, China
2. Yukimasa Ida, born 1990 in Tottori, Japan
3. Adrian Ghenie, born 1977 in Baia Mare, Romania
4. Nathanial Mary Quinn, born 1977 in Chicago, USA
5. Jenny Saville, born 1970 in Cambridge, UK
6. Osgemeos, born 1974 in Sao Paulo, Brazil
7. RETNA, aka Marquis Lewis born in 1979, Los Angeles
8. Ornela Gjoci, born 1996 in Tirana, Albania