Top 6 Famous Living Artists

Can you name a famous living artist? How about the top 6? How would you also define "famous?" Let's see what others have said!

In December 2013, Vanity Fair took a poll asking their viewers’ opinions of who are the top famous living artists.

The artists who received the most votes were:

1. Gerhard Richter (24 votes)

2. Jasper Johns (20)

3. Richard Serra (19)

4. Bruce Nauman (17)

5. Cindy Sherman (12)

6. Ellsworth Kelly (10)

Now, if you don’t follow contemporary art, or you just really don’t care, these names might be meaningless to you. If you do know them, you might have a ton of respect for them! They’re super important & influential figures of contemporary art.

However, you might think that they’ve already been established in their fields for very long time, so they are not the most current contemporary artists. Not to say that this makes them any less deserving of the title greatest living artist, but there are definitely names that I expected to be listed, but weren’t.

Of course, to answer this question, you must first define what qualities that the greatest living artist should have. For example, is it the person who’s getting be most press?The best reviews? Who’s has the most shows? Who’s in the best galleries and museums? The richest artist?

And then there’s the questions of what makes an artist, an artist? Do they need to be represented by a gallery? Does their work have to fit into certain genres of art? Do they need to hold an Art degree? Do they just need to call themselves an artist, and poof, they’re an artist?

There’s a ton of different ways to approach this, and it’s difficult to say one way is right or wrong.

Personally, I believe the definition of the contemporary artist is becoming more broad. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is another matter.

For example, what about graffiti artist Banksy? Sure, his work sells for a ton of money, but some might want to differentiate him from a “real” artist.

One question that I am interested in is, who is the MOST KNOWN artist?

If I walk up to a regular Joe, which artists will he know about? Regardless of them making “Good” or “Bad” art, which artists will be the ones that future generations will talk about when reflecting on the art of the 2010s?

I do think Banksy is definitely a strong contender. His actions have created quite a number of commotions with his political and social commentary filled works, and I do this he’s really challenged the notion of Art with a capital A. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have an oscar nominated documentary (Exit Through the Gift Shop).

Following that train of thought, you can’t leave out Shepard Fairey in the age of “Obamanation” He gained national recognition with his Obama Hope Posters, but is probably even more infamous for the highly recognizable OBEY posters.

And one more graffiti artist David Choe, who made became famous mostly for his facebook office murals, for which he made millions by receiving Facebook stock in lieu of cash. Needless to say, he shot up in the list as one of the richest artists living today.

Another big name artist I was surprised to not see was Yoko Ono, the avant-garde artist who was married to the Beatles member John Lennon. Perhaps her marriage out shined her artistic pursuits, but you can’t deny the tweet-loving artist is known to all.

Another trend we see are artists who have ventured into the wonderful world of commerce. Yayoi Kusama’s infinite polka dot pattern and Japanese king of mass culture to high art Takashi Murakami’s designs have both graced the face of Louis Vuitton.

Their collaboration, as well as other artists’ endeavors into consumer culture definitely puts their name into millions of eyes.

And love him or hate him, you can’t deny that the world will remember the richest artist alive: Damien Hirst.

I want to hear what you guys think. Let us know down below who you rank as the top living artists today!


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