Art & Design

January 12, 2017

10 Artists on the Art They Want to See in 2017

From Martine Syms to Molly Soda, this is what artists are hyped for this year

  • Written by Charlotte Jansen

The things artists like aren’t always the things everyone else does. They’re good at finding the unknown, forgotten and esoteric bits of our world. And at a time when it seems to make more sense just to bury our heads in the proverbial sand, artists are getting involved in these strange political and social times.

From new web series to graphic novels, films and museum exhibitions, we spoke to 10 international artists to get a glimpse into what’s on their radar over the next few months. What art will artists be looking at in 2017? Some responses might surprise you.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby

2016 was a big year for Njideka Akunyili Crosby, who showed work at the Whitney in New York, had her first museum show at the Norton, and a first solo exhibition in Europe at Victoria Miro in London. The year ended with her biggest effort yet – her first child. Adjusting to her new schedule, she told Amuse: “I’m looking forward to seeing Kerry James Marshall at MOCA, Mark Bradford at the American Pavilion in Venice, and the Istanbul Biennial.”


Ed Fornieles

The British artist, who relocated from Los Angeles to Montreal not long ago, is looking to films for inspiration and relief this year. “Number one for sure is Guardians of the Galaxy 2!” Fornieles, who also consulted his social networks on the subject, suggested anticipated remakes of Blade Runner, Alien, Wonder Woman, Trainspotting and Twin Peaks (all due for release this year) say something “about a technologically dark future and the nostalgic warmth that comes from remakes and familiar things.”

Vivien Zhang

Currently on a residency at the prestigious British School in Rome, painter Vivien Zhang says, “In the year of the Rooster (Chinese New Year is coming up at the end of this month), the top three on my to-see-list are: the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands, I learnt about the museum at the 2016 Contemporary Art Society conference; GRANPALAZZO, a curated art fair/”exhibition-event” set in Palazzo Rospigliosi, just outside of Rome; and the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden.” Zhang’s work is currently on view at Long March Space in Beijing and will be presented at a solo booth by House of Egorn at MiArt in Milan at the end of March.


Martine Syms

The razor-sharp polymath Martine Syms comes to London this week, for a takeover show at Sadie Coles presented by her New York gallery, Bridget Donahue. The LA-based artist told Amuse, “I’m excited to see Andrea Longacre-White’s upcoming exhibition at Various Small Fires [Los Angeles]. Andrea is strong ass woman who makes aggressive, sensual abstraction and I’m hyped for the new show.”

Martine Syms: Fact & Trouble

From Martine Syms: Fact & Trouble. ICA (2016)

“Also, NTS Radio recently opened a station in Los Angeles. One of the launch events was an incredible show with Princess Nokia, Cam & China, and the Rail Up Crew. It was one of the best shows I went to all year and I’m so happy we’re gonna get more,” said Syms.

Molly Soda

“In 2017 I’m excited to see what people have been secretly working on and not telling anyone about. I know there’s a lot of stuff like that, so it’s hard for me to predict what I’m gonna experience this year!” says Molly Soda, whose practice has transitioned from social media to gallery spaces over the last year.

Her second solo exhibition at Annka Kultys gallery in East London, Comfort Zone, at the end of 2016 featured 18 hours of photobooth footage, as well as new resin sculptures of bedroom clutter and beauty paraphernalia. “From what I do know, I’m really looking forward to reading Darcie Wilder‘s book, literally show me a healthy person, which comes out via Tyrant Books this Spring. Her Twitter is a constant source of comfort for me and a lot of times I think we take the work that people do on Twitter for granted – there’s always this elevation of printed text versus digital text, which really bums me out,” she tells Amuse.

“I also had a friend recently show me this web series called Zhe Zhe. It’s basically about this band/two best friends and their adventures and it’s SUPER funny. I watched it all in one sitting. I heard a rumour that the second season is coming out this year so…”

Petra Cortright

“I’m looking forward to shows at and/or gallery and 1301pe gallery in LA,” says Cortright – known for her multi-layered paintings that turn the Internet into an impasto. “And I’m always looking forward to Stella McCartney shows.” Maybe because her practice demands it, she stays inside and online for hours a day, Cortright is also hyped about sports. “I also want to see who wins the Premier league this year. Particularly these games are gonna be crazy in the next few weeks: on 21st Jan, Man City v Tottenham and on 31st Jan, Liverpool v Chelsea, omg!”


Djordje Ozbolt

Djordje Ozbolt’s current exhibition at the Holburne Museum in Bath shows the painter’s eclectic – and sometimes esoteric – range of references, from Science fiction to cat culture, art history to cartoons. His picks for 2017 equally seem to suggest his explorative and experimental tendencies.

His wish list is part-fantasy, part-whimsy, and includes a Mike Kelley retrospective, followed by a visit to the Shangri-La at the Shard, and finally to “see the publication of the second part of Alexander Tucker’s graphic novel World in a Forcefield.” You can catch Ozbolt’s exhibition, Brave New World, at Hauser & Wirth Somerset from 19th January.

Alexandra Marzella

New York-based Alexandra Marzella is known for her interdisciplinary works, and as an outspoken art world provocateur, says: “I’m real excited for all new animated films coming out in 2017.” While Crumbling World Runway, curated by Marzella’s friend, India Menuez, at MoMA ps1 is the art event she’s most excited for. Catch it on 5th February at 3pm if you’re in New York.


Alex Da Corte

If you saw Da Corte’s object poems of the consumer everyday in New York, Los Angeles or at MaSS MOCA last year you’ll probably wonder where the artist draws his inspiration from.


In 2017, he’s looking to exceptional women. “I am really looking forward to the inimitable Alissa Bennett’s zine, Bad Behavior, due this February; Jo Nigoghossian’s beautifully grotesque and savage work at Team Gallery in June; Elaine Cameron-Weir’s sick alchemy at New Museum in April, Martine Syms taking MoMA in May, the brilliant curators Kim Nguyen at CCA Wattis and Jamillah James at ICA Los Angeles, and all things JTT and Bridget Donahue this year.”

Celia Hempton

Painter of fleshy situations, Celia Hempton says Jana Euler at Cabinet Gallery is at the top of her list in 2017. “I have never seen the paintings in person and quite intrigued. It seems like a way of painting that I quite envy – completely imaginative and bizarre – whereas I tend to look outwards and make images of things that are already in front of me,” she explains.


Photo: arianna lago

Next is “Wolfgang Tillmans at Tate Modern.” Hempton, who was born in 1981, says “the first Wolfgang Tillmans show I saw was when he won the Turner Prize when I had just started art school. I loved it then but haven’t really kept up with what he’s been doing since. Really looking forward to it.” Finally, she’ll be off to the ‘other Tate’ later this year to see Queer British Art 1861-1967. “I imagine that this show will have a very broad selection of work as it spans so many decades – looks fascinating.”


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