Greatest Living Artists

Vanity Fair recently published an article naming the top 6 living artists, as voted on by other living artists and major players in the art world. I don’t have too many complaints about the list–I think the methodology they used was pretty strong, and I have a lot of respect for all of the artists on the list. Their top six is as follows:

Gerhard Richter, Jasper Johns, Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman, Elsworth Kelly.

Now, I know a lot of art teachers aren’t huge contemporary art fans, but I would be curious to know who your top six would be. Personally, I would take out Sherman, Nauman and Kelly, replacing them with Maya Lin, James Turrell and Ai Weiwei.

So my list, in order, would be:

Gerhard Richter, Jasper Johns, James Turrell, Maya Lin, Richard Serra, Ai Weiwei.

And of course, I have a few other thoughts (no surprise if you know my art history obsession), broken down into random categories:

My next six (in no particular order):

Cindy Sherman, Elsworth Kelly, Claes Oldenburg, Bridget Riley, Kara Walker, Robert Irwin

Artists who are great right now but probably not so much when we look back 30 years from now:

Banksy, Cai Quo Giang

Artists who were great 30 years ago but probably not so much when we look at them now:

Chris Burden, Chuck Close

Artists who are personal favorites but don’t really fit into a “greatest” list:

Robert Longo, Vija Celmins, Rachel Whiteread, Sandy Skoglund, Kehinde Wiley, Wayne Thiebaud, Ed Ruscha

Artists who recently died but would have otherwise made my “second six” list:

Walter de Maria

Artists I kind of despise and am really glad they didn’t make the list:

Jeff Koons, Carl Andre, Damien Hirst

So, how about it? Who is in your top six?

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  1. Ian Sands (@iansands on Twitter) wants you to check out his Art of Ed post that discusses contemporary artists being taught alongside historical artists:


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