Here is Part 1 of my picks for Artists to Watch in 2010!
I hope to offer some fun, inspiring new stuff to check out, and would love it if you responded in kind with artists you're loving right now....
1. Filmmaker BALUFU BAHUPA-KANYINDA's film Afro@Digital takes a fascinating look at the spread of digital culture in Africa. A particularly interesting African director, his 2007 film, "Juju Factory" examined the ethical dilemma of a writer living in an African section of Brussels who has taken an assignment to write a gentle piece about the Congolese but finds some disturbing truths that his publisher decides not to make public. A wonderfully relevent filmmaker, his work appeared at this year's Congo in Harlem series at the Maysles Institute Cinema in Harlem.
Read an interview with him here:
2. NewYork based video artist KALUP LINZYplays with soap opera conventions, often starring himself in drag. I first saw his work in 2005, a piece called "All My Churen" which was featured at the Studio Museum in Harlem. That same year, he also had four shorter pieces in a solo show at Taxter & Spengemann in Chelsea, my favourite of which was "KK Queens Survey," in which a famous NYC art diva (played by Linzy) submits to a telephone interview about her hopes, dreams, and habits.
3. London-based artist OLYMPIA SCARRY uses cables, mirrors, and fluorescent lights for her multimedia pieces. Her first solo show was held at the Conduits gallery in Milan earlier this year, and she's now at work on an ambitious project for London's 20 Hoxton Square Project, coming this winter. Granddaughter of the legendary children's author Richard Scarry, she grew up moving around Europe (with a high school stint in NYC where she's said to have picked up goth), Olympia Scarry has experienced a lot of displacement, which comes through quite poetically in her works which seem to examine the feeling of wanting to fall in love.
4. My music pick is MNDR aka Amanda Warner, some of the freshest, most innovative, electro dance pop music I've heard in recent years. Stradling musician, performance artist, and mad scientist, MNDR has been making music since childhood band camp, and has spun through genres like IDM, industrial and ghettotech to arrive at edgy, dance infused pop that somehow manages to be both insanely modern with intensly nuanced production, and also personal with her vivid, textured voice and memorable lyrics that combine to leave a lasting impression. She did 2 incredible shows at CMJ last week, for the Fader party and Blackbook's night at Norwood, a huge one to watch....
5. My cross-genre pick is cartoonist DAVID HEATLEY, author of the bright graphic memoir "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down." Heatley has found a new way to talk about yourself with what I can only call a stream-of-unconsciousness string of narratives that deal with sex, family, racism and adulthood in a way that's dark and brutally honest but also full of very organic storytelling and tons of earnest, sustaining humour. Heatley's readings have incorporated breakdancing as well as performances from the book's accompanying eponymous mini soundtrack, which has been in frequent sing-along rotation around here.