Aaron Fowler: "17 Emerging Artists to Watch in 2017"

Artsy Editorial, December 13, 2017

Dec. 14, 2016

Among the more important lessons learned by the art world in 2016: An emerging artist’s career isn’t cemented in one night, with one breakout show, or with one collector’s token of approval. Artists who matter long-term have careers that build over time, show upon show, collection upon collection. In looking ahead to 2017, Artsy’s editors consulted a number of data sources, including UBS’s art news app Planet Art, as well as prominent artists, curators, writers, and collectors, to determine who among the many artists deserving of greater attention in the new year are particularly well positioned to rise to new heights. Here, in no specific order, are 17 to keep your eye on.

Saint Louis native and Yale MFA grad Fowler set up a studio last year in an East Harlem basement after his landlords fell in love with his work. To create his massive assemblages, the 28-year-old artist gathers discarded materials from his local surroundings; think window shutters or a pair of Nike Air Force 1s. The resulting sculptural works, made using oils, acrylic, and collage, reflect his own human experience—and those of important figures in his community. One of his most striking works to date, He Was (2015), is an altar-like installation created in homage to Ferguson police shooting victim Michael Brown and his mother, Lesley McSpadden. Fowler’s solo booth with Diane Rosenstein was a showstopper at UNTITLED, Miami Beach, as was his work at the Rubell Family Collection. In 2017, Fowler will be immersing himself in a new body of work from his studios in Los Angeles and Harlem.