2015: The Year That Was

2015: The Year That Was

NINE FINE ARTISTS INTERPRET THE HEADLINES OF THE YEAR AND EXPLAIN THEIR IMPACT WITH WORKS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

THIS STORY IS AN EXCERPT FROM V98. ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

NINE FINE ARTISTS INTERPRET THE HEADLINES OF THE YEAR AND EXPLAIN THEIR IMPACT WITH WORKS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

THIS STORY IS AN EXCERPT FROM V98. ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

CAITLYN JENNER’S TRANSFORMATION

"While sworn to secrecy and waiting for the world to see the beauty that was about to be reborn, the anticipation of the Vanity Fair cover unveiling already had me wondering, Who is Caitlyn Jenner? But the better question was, What is she wearing? What’s her hairstyle? Does she like lip gloss or lipstick? I had so many fantasies for her look, that as soon as I could get my hands on a copy, I couldn’t wait to bring them to life in paintings. Just a few weeks after the VF reveal was the amfAR Inspiration Gala New York, where I received the Inspiration Award and had the opportunity to talk to such an impactful room of people about all of Happy Hippie Foundation’s recent missions and our future ones. After being so inspired myself, not only by Caitlyn’s story but by all of the amazing trans people around the world, it was the perfect place to auction these pieces, which sold for $69,000 (perfect number, don’t ya think?) to help this incredible foundation dig deeper into AIDS research and get these valuable lives that are in jeopardy closer to a cure." - MILEY CYRUS

RONDA ROUSEY’S KNOCKOUT SUCCESS

"Rowdy Ronda Rousey is a modern-day Athena—a vision of strength, courage, and strategy. Her athletic artistry has allowed her to dominate the sport of mixed martial arts from the day she entered the league, as well as inspire others. In 2015 Rousey took huge strides in diminishing existing gender biases in her discipline and set a number of records. She became the first female to win the ESPY Fighter of the Year award, meaning she is considered the best fighter pound for pound in the world. As Athena, the patron goddess of heroism and defender of truth and justice, in her victorious moment on the podium Rousey exposed her rival, Floyd Mayweather’s, domestic abuse history. In Thea (Rowdy), Rousey is depicted on her own island. Just as Athena defeated Poseidon, so, too, has Rousey triumphed and she stands with her arms raised in victory, her fallen opponent limp at her side. Her figure is a composite of her contemporary image and that of her mythical foremother, Athena, holding the golden spear, a vision of mental and physical female strength." - TALWST

CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT CRISIS

"I’ve spent the last seven years working in California’s Central Valley, a place that’s been described as the California no tourist would come to see. The disparity here is quite shocking—endless green fields irrigated for massive agribusiness alongside the drought-afflicted, parched landscape and isolated communities. I’ve grown to love this unforgiving place and the people that live here, without delusion, on the other side of the American Dream." - KATY GRANNAN

THE COMING REVOLUTION

"To Our Friends is the latest publication from The Invisible Committee, an ultra-left-wing anarchist group. I want to promote new ways of deconstructing society." - BJARNE MELGAARD

"To Our Friends is a report on the state of the world and of the movement, a piece of writing that’s essentially strategic and openly partisan. Its political ambition is immodest: to produce a shared understanding of the epoch, in spite of the extreme confusion of the present." - THE INVISIBLE COMMITTEE

COMING HOME TO CUBA

"The change in Cuba and U.S. relations could make us think about Hegel’s theory of the dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis). But it is very difficult to give an informed opinion about the present situation, and even more so concerning the future, because we are talking about two countries where the past is still a strong center of gravity. Anyway, at the moment a lot of people are getting the chance to be optimistic, and optimism is a first step for any positive action." - YOAN CAPOTE

A COUNTRY UP IN ARMS

"This drawing depicts Kenny Britt, #81 wide receiver for the St. Louis Rams, entering the field during the introduction ceremony on Sunday, November 30, 2014. Britt initiated the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture alongside four of his teammates (the Rams receiving corps). The five players held up their hands while entering the field as a gesture of support for and solidarity with the Ferguson community and protesters after the shooting by a police officer of unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. This “hands up” gesture on a football field is paradoxical because of its similarity to the official gesture marking a touchdown. With its use of war terminology and combat, football is modern-day America’s gladiator game, a sport that ancient Rome perpetuated in an effort to keep the populace in a constant state of war. The similarity between football’s athletic equipment and police armor calls to mind the images of the absurd police militarization in Ferguson." - ROBERT LONGO

AMERICA’S IDENTITY POLITICS

"We are living in a complex time." - RASHID JOHNSON

THE TAYLOR SWIFT EFFECT

"For Taylor explores the confluence of contemporary global realism with a digitally corrupted VMA press-line image hovering over a “Bad Blood” pyrotechnic–inspired capture of the recent explosion in Tianjin." - RICHARD PHILLIPS

THE SPECTRUM OF EQUALITY

"My Rainbow Summer is the year 2015. A beautiful color spectrum appeared to me over Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite earlier this year as a prediction of the Supreme Court’s announcement of marriage equality for all. The White House celebrated by lighting its façade in rainbow colors. I celebrate 2015 with the rainbow in Bridalveil Fall; it is my own personal omen." - CATHERINE OPIE

CAITLYN JENNER'S TRANSFORMATION  MILEY CYRUS, THE CAITLYN JENNER COLLECTION, 2015; PHOTOS NATASHA MOUSTACHE  MILEY CYRUS IS THE FOUNDER OF HAPPY HIPPIE FOUNDATION, A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE IN LGBT COMMUNITIES

ROUNDA ROUSEY'S KNOCKOUT SUCCESS TALWST, THEA (ROWDY), 2015; MIXED MEDIA, 2¼ X 2¼ X 2½ INCHES; PHOTO RYAN THOMPSON

CALIFORNIA'S DROUGHT CRISIS KATY GRANNAN, DEB WITH FRIEND, BY TUOLUMNE RIVER, MODESTO, CA, 2013 (STILL FROM THE NINE, 2015)

THE COMING REVOLUTION BJARNE MELGAARD, UNTITLED, 2015 (EXCERPT FROM TO OUR FRIENDS BY THE INVISIBLE COMMITTEE, PUBLISHED APRIL 2015 BY SEMIOTEXT(E) / INTERVENTION SERIES)

COMING HOME TO CUBA YOAN CAPOTE, IMMANENCE, 2015; HINGES, WOOD DOORS, METAL ARMATURE, 305 X 457 X 457 CM (VARIABLE DIMENSIONS)  ©YOAN CAPOTE, COURTESY THE ARTIST AND JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK

A COUNTRY UP IN ARMS ROBERT LONGO, ST. LOUIS RAMS (HANDS UP), 2015; CHARCOAL ON MOUNTED PAPER, 65 X 120 INCHES

AMERICA'S IDENTITY POLITICS RASHID JOHNSON, UNTITLED ANXIOUS MEN, 2015; WHITE CERAMIC TILE, BLACK SOAP, WAX, 47½ X 34½ X 2 INCHES

© RASHID JOHNSON, COURTESY THE ARTIST AND HAUSER & WIRTH; PHOTO MARTIN PARSEKIAN

THE TAYLOR SWIFT EFFECT RICHARD PHILLIPS, FOR TAYLOR, 2015; OIL AND WAX EMULSION ON LINEN, 68 X 50¹/5 INCHES; COURTESY RICHARD PHILLIPS STUDIO; PHOTO MARTIN PARSEKIAN

THE SPECTRUM OF EQUALITY CATHERINE OPIE, MY RAINBOW SUMMER, 2015; COURTESY REGEN PROJECTS, LOS ANGELES, AND LEHMANN MAUPIN, NEW YORK AND HONG KONG

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