Discussion about this year’s central exhibition at the Venice Biennale, “The Milk of Dreams,” has centered on the many historical figures—often women and gender non-conforming artists—that curator Cecilia Alemani resurfaced and recontextualized. But plenty of emerging and mid-career artists were given ample real estate in the show, too—and they were greeted by an international audience not always familiar with their work.
The Artnet News Pro team scoured the Arsenale and the Giardini to find nine artists in this ambitious show whose careers are poised to ascend to the next level following their inclusion. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
Felipe Baeza (b. 1987)
Who: A queer, Latinx artist, Baeza creates work about the body, home, memory, and land. At the Biennale, seven new textured paintings by Baeza depict figures in states of transformation—with vines curling around their limbs and foliage sprouting from their bodies. They are part of an ongoing series of paintings carved and sanded down from layered ink, acrylic paint, and collaged paper.
Based in: New York
Representation: Maureen Paley
Price Range: $8,000–60,000
Why You Should Pay Attention: Baeza’s work draws on his own personal experience migrating to the U.S. from Mexico. He describes his works as love letters and the hybrid forms therein—sometimes referred to as “fugitive bodies”—as an imaginative form of self-portraiture. Baeza’s work also played an important role in the biennale’s visual identity: The pair of white eyes staring out of a dark cosmos, which were featured on promotional images for the exhibition, were borrowed from his work.
Notable Resume Line: A 2018 graduate from Yale University, Baeza was selected for Titus Kaphar’s coveted studio fellowship NXTHVN in 2019. He will take part in the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida, in 2023.
Up Next: Aside from at the Venice Biennale, Baeza’s work is also on view in “Our Whole, Unruly Selves” at the San Jose Museum of Art through June 26, and “Present Generations: Creating the Scantland Collection” at the Columbus Museum of Art through June 22.
Vera Molnár (b. 1924)
Who: A generative art pioneer, the 98-year-old Vera Molnár began working with computers to introduce random patterns of disruption to her minimalist geometric forms as early as the 1960s. At the Biennale, Molnár is exhibiting a set of 20 computer drawings from the 1970s.
Based in: Paris
Representation: Oniris.art in Rennes is Molnar’s main gallery. She has also worked with Galerie Linde Hollinger in Germany and Galerie La Ligne in Switzerland.
Price Range: Works on paper range from €1,500 to €50,000 ($1,575–52,500) and paintings range from €11,000 to €77,000 ($11,500–80,800).
Why You Should Pay Attention: Molnár is one of many sometimes-overlooked women artists who is enjoying new relevance at the Biennale. She is still actively working and has just dropped a series of NFTs from her nursing home in Paris.
Notable Resume Line: Molnár was awarded France’s highest honor, the Chevalier of Arts and Letters, in 2007. Her works are in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Up Next: Molnár’s largest solo exhibition in the U.S. is on view at the Beall Center for Art + Technology in Irvine, California, through August 27. In 2023, she will be featured in a LACMA exhibition curated by Leslie Jones called “Coded: Art at the Dawn of the Computer Age, 1960–80.”
Tau Lewis (b. 1993)
Who: The Toronto, Canada-born artist is known for her remarkable textile sculptures, which she often calls “soft portraits.” These incorporate recycled and found garments that are quilted, sewn, or stitched. In Venice, Lewis presented two massive masks called Divine Giants Tribunal from 2021 that flanked a major doorway at the Arsenale.
Based in: Brooklyn
Representation: Night Gallery, Los Angeles, and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
Price Range: Works range from $65,000 to $200,000.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Though not even 30 years old, Lewis’s work is set to show in major institutions in Europe and the U.S. What’s more, her practice is incredibly unique in its dedication to time-intensive labor, making her individual sculptures incredible in their detail and uniqueness.
Notable Resume Line: During the summer last year, visitors to Canada’s National Gallery were greeted by a major installation called Symphony by Lewis. The work was acquired by the national collection. Her work has also recently been acquired by the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
Up Next: Lewis will have a huge year in 2023, with a solo exhibition at Haus der Kunst, Munich; an exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris; and a show at the Hayward Gallery in London. Another big step on the commercial circuit: She has a show at David Zwirner’s 52 Walker space in New York coming up this fall.
Ficre Ghebreyesus (1962–2012)
Who: The Eritrean-American artist and chef was the proprietor of the popular Caffe Adulis in New Haven. When he died of a heart attack in 2012 at the age of 50, he left behind hundreds of brilliant, transporting paintings had rarely been shown publicly. The story of his life and work was beautifully told in the Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, The Light of the World, written by his widow, Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Representation: Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris and New York
Price Range: $10,000 to $200,000; monumental works can be even more.
Why You Should Pay Attention: A keen colorist who drew on subjects as wide ranging as the stucco houses of Asmara and the bright work of Matisse, Ghebreyesus created haunting works that straddle figuration and abstraction but feel distinct from the “Zombie Abstraction” that fills so many white cubes these days. His work has been collected by the likes of Glenstone in Potomac, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Notable Resume Line: A refugee who left Eritrea at the age of 16, Ghebreyesus was admitted to the prestigious Yale School of Art in 2000. He was the subject of a posthumous solo show the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco in 2018.
Up Next: Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris, will present the late artist’s works in France for the first time in a solo show this fall.
Miriam Cahn (b. 1949)
Who: The Swiss painter makes work with a dream-like intensity similar to Marlene Dumas or Maria Lassnig, but her figures are wholly different and otherworldly. For the “Milk of Dreams,” Cahn presented 28 paintings in a defined space that was almost like a room of its own for her ghostly figures.
Based in: Stampa, Switzerland
Representation: Galerie Wolff, Romainville, France and Meyer Riegger, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Basel.
Price Range: Small paintings cost around $20,000; medium works go for around $50,000; and large ones can run $250,000. A room installation, composed of several paintings and drawings, sells for over $1 million. The price range for the work at Biennale, which is one installation, ranges between $1 million to $2 million excluding VAT.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Though Cahn is well known and well loved on mainland Europe—her works are included in the Pinault Collection in Paris, the Kunstmuseum in Basel, and Tate Modern in London—many foreigners stopped in their tracks when they came upon her fleshy, washed figures in Venice. The feminist painter often depicts sexuality, profanities, or violence while luring us in with a soothing color palette.
Notable Resume Line: Cahn was also included in the last Documenta 14, in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany.
Up Next: She won the Rubenpreis of the city of Siegen and she will have a solo show at Kunstmuseum Siegen opening on 26 June 2022. In 2023, Cahn has a major solo show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
Ali Cherri (b. 1976)
Who: Cherri’s work explores the tension between antiquity and contemporary civilization, with a special focus on the toxic relationship between origin myths and the unquenchable appetite for modern progress. His contributions to “The Milk of Dreams” consist of a video installation about a Sudanese brickmaker who creates a supernatural portal during his work on a Nile-altering dam, as well as four drawings and three earthen sculptures that nod equally to ancient artifacts and creatures of legend.
Based in: Beirut and Paris
Representation: Galerie Imane Farès, Paris
Price Range: €3,500 to €180,000 ($3,700 to $189,000)
Why You Should Pay Attention: Cherri won the Silver Lion for a promising young participant at this year’s biennale. At publication time, he was also just days away from premiering his first feature-length film, an extension of his Venice video installation, as part of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors Fortnight) branch of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Notable Resume Line: Cherri was the 2021 artist in residence at London’s National Gallery, where his accompanying solo exhibition “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” remains on view until mid-June.
Up Next: His National Gallery show will travel to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, England later this year.
Igshaan Adams (b. 1982)
Who: Adams is best known for infusing unorthodox beaded tapestries with memories of his South African hometown, Bonteheuwel, via methods ranging from mapping community migration routes to riffing on the patterns in linoleum flooring recovered from the homes of friends and family members.
The artist supersizes themes of hybrid identity, race relations, and intergenerational trauma in his Venice installation, which centers on a 37-foot-wide wall tapestry depicting an abstracted aerial view of the landscape between a train station in Bonteheuwel and the neighboring industrial zone, Epping, where many economically marginalized locals must search for work by traveling unplanned and officially unsanctioned dirt shortcuts known as “desire lines.”
Based in: Cape Town, South Africa
Representation: Casey Kaplan, New York, and Blank Projects, Cape Town
Price Range: $10,000 to $350,000 for sculptures and wall tapestries on the primary market. Six works by Adams have also fetched between roughly $10,000 and $88,200 (his current high) at auction since 2019, per the Artnet Price Database.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Even before Cecelia Alemani’s central exhibition opened, Adams’s work had entered the collections of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and Brazilian mega-collector Bernardo Paz’s Inhotim Museum, among others.
Notable Resume Line: His solo exhibition “Kicking Dust” debuted at London’s prestigious Hayward Gallery in 2021 before traveling to the Kunsthalle Zürich this year.
Up Next: Adams’s second solo show at Casey Kaplan will open in January 2023. The Art Institute of Chicago is also hosting his first solo U.S. museum survey through August 2; the show highlights eight years’ worth of Adams’s practice, headlined by a new large-scale commission.
Myrlande Constant (b. 1968)
Who: The textile artist creates intricate, large-scale embroideries drawing on her Haitian roots, which she describes as “paintings with beads.” The daughter of a seamstress, she started out selling flower embroideries on the street in the 1980s, but was inspired to work in a larger scale by a Voudou practitioner friend. Three of her drapo Vodou, or Vodou flags, are featured in “The Milk of Dreams.”
Based in: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Representation: Fort Gansevoort, New York
Price Range: Until recently, her work ranged in price from $15,000 to $35,000. Her gallery said it was unable to provide the price range for work in her upcoming show.
Why You Should Pay Attention: A pioneer in a practice that is traditionally dominated by men, Constant has revolutionized the medium of flags with high-profile outings at the Faena Festival during Art Basel, Miami Beach. Her profile began to grow when she was included in the 2018 exhibition “Pòtoprens: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince” at New York’s Pioneer Works, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami.
Notable Resume Line: Her work is in the collections of the American Folk Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Fowler Art Museum at UCLA. Fort Gansevoort began representing her in 2021.
Up Next: A solo show of Constant’s work at Fort Gansevoort in New York will open this fall, followed by a survey exhibition at the Fowler in 2023.
Delcy Morelos (b. 1967)
Who: Morelos’s maze-like installation Earthly Paradise (2022) is a culmination of the artist’s three-decade artistic journey. She started out as a painter and evolved into a creator of large-scale installations inspired by her Indigenous roots in the Emberá tribe.
Based in: Bogotá, Colombia
Representation: Despite being an internationally recognized artist with a track record of institutional and biennial exhibitions, Morelos has never appeared at any art fairs nor does she have regular gallery representation.
Price Range: Artnet’s Price Database recorded three works on canvas sold in the secondary market in 2013 ($12,500) and 2016 ($4,311 and $4,401). But a large-scale installation like the one in Venice will be much pricier, art advisors told Artnet News.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Morelos’s Earthly Paradise (2022) has been cited by critics including our own Ben Davis as one of the most memorable pieces in “The Milk of Dreams,” particularly because of the strong aroma of the earth.
Notable Resume Line: She won first prize in the Young Art Hall of Bogotá (1994) and the Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation’s second Biennial Prize for Plastic and Visual Arts (2012).
Up Next: Melores is working on a new commission of immersive installations for Dia Chelsea, which is expected to be unveiled in September 2023.
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