The Most Influential Living African American Artists (According To Artsy Editorial)

Artsy Editorial’s selection isn’t the entirety of African American art but it shows a powerful list of 20.

Kehinde Wiley

If you were asked to pick 20 of the most influential living African American artists, who would be in your list?

I don’t know if I could do it but Artsy Editorial had a go and their list is pretty powerful. But rather than just pick 20 amongst themselves, they consulted people in the industry:

While it’s impossible to capture the full impact that African American artists have on contemporary art, Artsy Editorial asked prominent art historians and curators to reflect on 20 living African American artists who are making a mark on painting, photography, performance, and sculpture.

So, here’s their final list:

Artsy’s 20 Most Influential Living African American Artists

  • Mark Bradford
  • Charles Gaines
  • Theaster Gates
  • David Hammons
  • Senga Nengudi
  • Howardena Pindell
  • Pope.L
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Betye Saar
  • Lorna Simpson
  • Mickalene Thomas
  • Nick Cave
  • Kerry James Marshall
  • Carrie Mae Weems
  • Kara Walker
  • Glenn Ligon
  • Rashid Johnson
  • Henry Taylor
  • Kehinde Wiley
  • Sam Gilliam

One of the names that should stand out is Kehinde Wiley, the Nigerian-American portrait artist who painted President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

But if you’re unfamiliar with the others, now’s the time to get acquainted. Below is a gallery of work from each of the 20 artists. There will also be future posts related to these artists so stay tuned.

  • Theaster Gates
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Henry Taylor
  • david hammons
  • mark bradford
  • Carrie Mae Weems
  • Betye Saar
  • Kehinde Wiley
  • Charles Gaines
  • Mickalene Thomas
  • Kerry James Marshall
  • Glenn Ligon
  • Nick Cave
  • Senga Nengudi
  • Pope.L
  • Rashid Johnson
  • Sam Gilliam
  • Kara Walker
  • Lorna Simpson
  • Howardena Pindell

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