Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.
Making your way as an artist has always been tough, especially here in New York. Despite the hundreds of art galleries dotting Chelsea, the LES, Uptown and Brooklyn, as well the opportunities afforded by major museum surveys at the Whitney Museum, MoMA PS1 and the New Museum, contemporary artists have a hard time getting their work in front of the public—let alone achieving the money and fame of a Jeff Koons level of art stardom. Your first show could mean just that, of course, depending on luck, but it’s more often the case that even artists who start out hot face, at best, a journeyman career, or at worst, art-historical oblivion. There are also artists who originally couldn’t get arrested for their work suddenly being rediscovered; for the fortunate among them, this might happen during their lifetimes. Regardless of the situation, how good your art is has very little to do with how successful you are, and given the thousands of artists vying for a shot at immortality, it’s easy to lose track of quality work. We’ve compiled this list of 10 artists at various stages of their careers whose efforts ought to be recognized by every true art aficionado.