The New New York: Art Stars

The New New York: Art Stars

In V108 we highlight 57 of the city’s most influential creators and social stars. Here, we highlight five young artists who are making their mark in the New York City art scene.

In V108 we highlight 57 of the city’s most influential creators and social stars. Here, we highlight five young artists who are making their mark in the New York City art scene.

Photography: Solve Sundsbo

Styling: Nicola Formichetti

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

Kimberly Drew

DRESS AND SHOES CHRISTOPHER KANE

With a mighty 120k following on her personal Instagram @museummammy and a job as Social Media Manager for The Met, it’s clear Kimberly Drew is young art world royalty. But growing up, like most kids her age in pre-Zuckerberg suburbia, Drew relied on MySpace to connect with the world around her. “I didn’t have an incredible amount of friends throughout my life, but I was so into [Myspace] and all the html coding, I was down with the Top 8,” Drew said.

But whatever “space” MySpace provided users, it was never designed for minority groups, which led Drew to seek out alternatives. “I was also on Downelink, which was a queer social media network, and Black Planet, a place for culturally specific blogs.” As new platforms arrived, Drew continued to carve out spaces within them. “Some of my best friends that I have now I met through Tumblr, and it was also where I learned how to be a researcher,” Drew said of her Tumblr blog, Black Contemporary Art, which took off while she was still in college.

It was there that Drew began to shine a light on the lack of representation of black artists, posting works from online archives that were rarely shown IRL. “Often times you’ll notice that a museum’s exhibitions maybe aren’t as diverse, but the collections are, so I would spend hours going through collections to post them on Tumblr,” she explained.

On Instagram, Drew continued to curate. In addition to sharing the work of artists like Kehinde Wiley and Beauford Delaney, she peppers in Oprah memes, glam selfies, and dispatches the Met Gala red carpet, which she covers for work. “I was standing so close to Kanye last year,” she said of last year’s event. “That [was] totally mind blowing.” With her front-row seat to culture and society, it’s safe to say that Drew started from MySpace and now she’s here.

Jacolby Satterwhite

CLOTHING STELLA MCCARTNEY

Last June’s “Slumbr” party hosted by the dating app Grindr at the Standard featured a funhouse of hotel rooms converted into various adult-themed attractions, but one stood out among the rest. Designed to recreate pre-Grindr hookup culture, multimedia artist Jacolby Satterwhite’s installation invited guests to don Helmut Lang leather gear and perform their fantasies in front of a green screen, which was then transposed onto a video of then-gay cruising mecca 1980s Central Park.

“I documented 100 people being free and transgressive, drinking vodka and doing poppers, and really having sex,” Satterwhite said. “It got really insane.” What guests probably didn’t know was that the footage would be used for one of Satterwhite’s future pieces. “It was the sex room, but there was work being made; it’s going to become a 3D animation.”

If that sounds like the beginning of a Black Mirror episode, not to fear: In Satterwhite’s DIY animations, which he roughly converts from film through a process called “rotoscoping,” people appear as Sim-like humanoids, so participants should remain anonymous.

The animations are part of an ongoing video project inspired by Satterwhite’s mother Patricia, who was schizophrenic. “She would send in these Da Vinci-esque drawings to infomercials with the delusion that they would be patented,” said Satterwhite. “Later on, when I was studying art, I realized that there was something really poetic and poignant about them.”

Using those drawings as inspiration, Satterwhite began crafting an animated universe replete with celestial landscapes, fluorescent mystical objects and human figures engaged in repetitive, at times erotic, activity. Meanwhile, Patricia, who passed away last year, became known as an outsider artist, showing at group shows in Harlem and Boston. “She was very aware, but didn’t fully grasp it. She mostly stuck to her work,” said Satterwhite.

Since starting the project, which he describes as “Hieronymus Bosch-like” and a “lifelong” endeavor, Satterwhite has brought on collaborators like Teengirl Fantasy and Lourdes Ciccone Leon. As the piece has evolved, it’s moved from the personal to the political: “My best effort in being political,” Satterwhite said, “is teaching young people that moving culture forward is to be a naughty bitch.” If the party at the Standard is any indication, Satterwhite is the naughtiest of them all.

Sam McKinniss

CLOTHING AND SHOES EMPORIO ARMANI

Like a post-Internet Al Hirschfeld, Sam McKinniss' vivid portraiture captures the divas of his day. But where Hirschfeld’s Carol Channing and Liza Minelli were exuberant and exaggerated, McKinniss’s Hari Nef and Laura Dern are understated and humanistic. McKinniss does the opposite of celebrity caricature; he takes widely circulated pop-cultural imagery and renders it in a new, naturalistic light.

While McKinniss' work typically draws inspiration from existing cultural artifacts (like, say, the oft-memed image of the rapper Cam’ron wearing a pink mink hoodie and talking into a matching flip phone) earlier this year he got to produce one of his own: the album art of Lorde’s much-anticipated sophomore album Melodrama. “Lorde hit me up and asked if we could get together and meet each other,” he said. “She said was a fan of my work, and came to my studio and stuff. We liked each other a lot.” For McKinnis, the magnitude of the task was twofold: “It was kind of like she was asking me to do two things at once. First, to enter into this publicity machine with her, and second, to make a really enticing and sensitive and beautiful image of a person in real time, who I know from my life.”

The finished product, an illustration of the singer in bed with only her face illuminated, instantly embodied the self-revelation and emotional honesty of Melodrama era. Lorde, known for her camera-shyness, is so fond of the portrait that she had limited edition lithographs created for fans.

Excavating his subjects’ inner humanity is part of McKinnis’s practice – even if they aren’t posing IRL, and even if that subject is the boxer Mike Tyson. “He’s got this really sweet other side to him,” said McKinniss. “He raises pigeons. There are all these wonderful photographs of him interacting with birds that he raises and takes care of.”

To supply the ever-expanding mood board from which he seems to paint, McKinniss relies on a strong sense of empathy, an encyclopedic knowledge of culture, and Google image search. “My Google image searches are an almost daily practice,” he said. “It’s like a stream of consciousness, so it’s tough to describe exactly what I’m looking for. But I’m fishing around for something that will really hit me in the gut.”

Chloe Wise

SUIT BALeNCIAGA SHOES CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN

Like one of her food sculptures (see: a heap of embalmed Alfredo pasta on a marble pedestal) Chloe Wise is a mix of weird and wholesome. A painting wunderkind from a solid Montreal family, Wise moved to New York shortly after graduating from college in 2013, and, eschewing the isolation and existential dread that often accompanies a fine arts degree, almost immediately fell in love with a fashionable in-crown that included Hari Nef and Jeffrey Deitch. Around the time that she arrived on fashion’s social circuit, Wise’s “Fendi Baguette” series took the industry by storm.  While she may make the artist’s life look easy and aspirational, don’t let that distract from her talent and work ethic. “What does this mean, 'Relax'?” she said when asked about her non-artistic pursuits. “I've never heard of it. I like to dance and cook but those are artistic endeavors, I suppose.”

It is clear that Wise’s interest in food is both personal (she describes her childhood as “bagel-filled and nurturing”) and professional (New York Magazine dubbed her “the carb artist of her generation”). But if refined carbohydrates defined Wise’s early career, her next phase is all about going raw: “I’m working on hyper-realistic sculptures of produce and more abject, sticky, gross objects like oysters,” she said.

The new food groups are for her solo show in Paris, and while they may represent a maturing palette, Wise shows no signs of a waning sense of humor. She’s also working on a video series with her friend, and periodically rumored love interest, comedian Eric Wareheim. “We start shooting the series after my solo show, so [it will] probably [be released] in 2018,” said Wise. “At which point we will also be running for president. There has yet to be a fake-couple-presidential-candidate-duo, so we can provide that.”

JiaJia Fei

CLOTHES HER OWN SHOES CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN SUNGLASSES ALAIN MIKLI

The patron saint of art history porn – an Instagram subgenre full of visually appealing, perfectly framed art from galleries and museums around the world – is @VaJiaJia, aka JiaJia Fei, Digital Director at the Jewish Museum. “Whenever I am not working at a museum, I am most likely on my way to another museum,” she told us. And while Fei’s account, despite the cheeky handle, is entirely SFW, you wouldn’t know it from the way she described explaining her passion to her parents.

“I came out to my parents as an art history major in college,” Fei told us. “They wanted me to follow their career in science and medicine.” After moving from Shanghai to Washington D.C. at a young age, Fei thrived off the city’s free-admission museums. While they long predated Instagram, her instincts for engaging with art were tailor made for social media. “I carried around a bound journal in high school to document visits to art shows,” she said. “I’ve always had an interest in creating a visual diary for myself.”

She’s also had an interest in photography, and got her hands on a camera early on. “Before Instagram, it was Flickr, and before Flickr, it was a dark room with film,” she said. While a creative in her own right, Fei is a unique combination of left and right-brained – which she owes to her research scientist parents: “My approach to my work is very analytical and in some ways is my own adaptation of the scientific method.”

This comes in handy at work, where Fei is in charge of translating the Jewish Museum’s 26,000-piece collection for a digital audience. And whether it’s sharing Jewish history or propelling digital media forward, Fei’s background helps her to bridge cultural divides through art. “Having grown up between two radically different cultures, I know that America is not the world,” she said.

While she’s already conquered one corner of Internet culture through art history, there’s another, less academic one she’s set her sights on: “Aside from art, I’m really into cats,” Fei said. “My fallback career has always been to open up my own cat café.”

Credits:
MAKEUP MAKI RYOKE (STREETERS) HAIR TOMO JIDAI (STREETERS) MANICURIST MICHINA KOIDE FOR DIOR VERNIS (ART DEPARTMENT) PRODUCTION PRODN DIGITAL TECHNICIAN ANNA HENDRY POST PRODUCTION DIGITAL LIGHT LTD PHOTO ASSISTANTS SIMON MCGUIGAN, PIERRE BONNET, KEVIN VAST, JOHN RUIZ STYLIST ASSISTANTS MARTA DEL RIO, DIEGO FERRER, MIGUEL SANCHEZ MAKEUP ASSISTANTS BRIAN DEAN AND SENA MURAHASHI HAIR ASSISTANTS YUSUKE MIURA, SHEN MILEY, ERIN HERSCHLEB, SEAN BENNETT CASTING HARBINGER LOCATION INDUSTRIA STUDIOS CATERING DISHFUL

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