To many people, all the great artists are dead: you learn a few names in school of Renaissance masters like Michaelangelo and Botticelli and maybe some artists who worked closer to the present day like Picasso or Van Gough. Beyond that most people are lost – and even those who do know a little more about modern art and largely familiar only with the winners of the Turner Prize.
The world of modern art is huge and filled with grand masters and up and coming talent, and if you’re interested in art then it behoves you to keep up to date. Today we’re taking a look at some of the great artists who are creating work today, and keeping the art world alive, dynamic and boundary pushing, and moving ever forward.
Russia’s Grand Master
Zurab Tsereteli is probably the most successful artist you’ve never heard of. He started out working in Russia during the Soviet era, and designed some extraordinary bus shelters to be sited in Abkhazia, on the shores of the Black Sea. The success of this project built his reputation, and he made a name for himself working at a huge scale. He’s gifted art around the world, to America in commemoration of the 9/11 attacks, to London at the politically sensitive time around the fall of the Berlin Wall, and to the Puerto Rico to celebrate the anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World.
He now runs Russia’s Academy of Arts, and acts as an ambassador for UNESCO and continues to create his own, remarkable work.
The Icelandic Technician
Currently enjoying a prestigious exhibition at Tate Modern, Olafur Eliasson is as much a technician as an artist. He uses light, water, even the temperature of the air to create his installations, as well as more traditional materials. He even established a laboratory in Berlin to help develop techniques he could apply to his art!
One of his most notable works was the creation of four manmade waterfalls around New York City Harbour. They ran from 7am to 10pm every day, with illumination after sunset during the summer of 2008. The tallest waterfall was 120 feet high, and they were built from scaffolding that was intended to blend in with the urban backdrop of the city. Costing $15.5 million, it was the most expensive public art project ever mounted in New York!