Contemporary Artists

The art that developed in the second half of the 20th century and the 21st century is called contemporary art. Contemporary art is characterized by the lack of a uniform ideology or organizing principle. Here is a list of some of the most famous contemporary artists of all time.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama
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Famous As: Contemporary Artist
Birthdate: March 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama is known for her variety of artforms, including sculpture, installations, paintings, and fashion. She mingles elements such as feminism, surrealism, and abstract expressionism, and expresses her struggle with mental illness through her art. She has also published books and produced an award-winning film. 

 2 Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei
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Famous As: Contemporary artist and Activist
Birthdate: August 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Named Art Review’s most powerful artist in 2011, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has become a symbol of resilience against the authoritarian Chinese government. Jailed and banned from leaving the country once, he is known for using various media, such as sculpture, photos, and documentaries, to reflect Chinese human-rights abuses.

 3 Pippa Bacca

Pippa Bacca
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: December 9, 1974
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: March 31, 2008

Pippa Bacca made international headlines in March 2008, when she was found naked and strangled on the outskirts of Istanbul. The Italian feminist artist had apparently been raped and murdered in the middle of her hitch-hiking program Brides on Tour, which had her traveling from Milan dressed as a bride.

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 4 Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: December 8, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Quanzhou, Fujian, China
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 5 Arturo Di Modica

Arturo Di Modica
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Famous As: Sculptor
Birthdate: January 26, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vittoria, Italy
Died: February 19, 2021

Arturo Di Modica was a sculptor best known for creating the bronze sculpture Charging Bull. Born in Italy during World War II, he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze and later moved to USA. He opened his own studios and built a brilliant career, often holding major exhibitions. His Charging Bull has often been featured in media. 

 6 Brion Gysin

Brion Gysin
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Famous As: Painter, Writer
Birthdate: January 19, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Taplow, England
Died: July 13, 1986

Brion Gysin was a Canadian painter, sound poet, writer, and performance artist. Gysin was also known as an inventor of experimental devices; he is credited with inventing the Dreamachine, a stroboscopic flicker device. Brion Gysin's ideas went on to inspire the artists of the Beat Generation and other prominent personalities like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, and Keith Haring. 

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 7 Vanessa Beecroft

Vanessa Beecroft
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: April 25, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy

Vanessa Beecroft is a contemporary performance artist who often works with professional models to stage tableaux vivants. In 2018, she used Kim Kardashian as her model for the release of the latter's perfume brand. A controversial personality, Vanessa Beecroft's unsuccessful attempt to adopt Sudanese twins inspired a derogative documentary titled The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins by Pietra Brettkelly.

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 8 Antoni Tàpies

Antoni Tàpies
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: December 13, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: February 6, 2012

Antoni Tàpies was a Spanish painter, sculptor, and art theorist. He is regarded as one of the most famous European artists of his generation. He studied at the German School of Barcelona, following which he embarked on a successful artistic career. He became one of the most renowned Spanish artists in the second half of the 20th century. 

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 9 Betye Saar

Betye Saar
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: July 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 10 Pacita Abad

Pacita Abad
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Basco, Batanes, Philippines
Died: December 7, 2004

 11 Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 3, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

 12 Lawrence Weiner

Lawrence Weiner
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: February 10, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, United States

 13 Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu
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Famous As: Contemporary visual artist, known for her multi-layered paintings of abstracted landscapes on a large scale
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 14 Zurab Tsereteli

Zurab Tsereteli
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 4, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tbilisi, Georgia

Zurab Tsereteli is a Georgian painter, architect, and sculptor best known for his large-scale and controversial monuments. An influential figure, Tsereteli has been serving as the Russian Academy of Arts' President since 1997. Zurab Tsereteli is the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors, such as the USSR State Prize, Lenin Prize, and Russian Federation State Prize. 

 15 Domiziana Giordano

Domiziana Giordano
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: September 4, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Lazio, Italy

 16 David Salle

David Salle
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: September 28, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Norman, Oklahoma, United States

 17 Martin von Haselberg

Martin von Haselberg
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 20, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Buenos Aires

Martin von Haselberg is an actor, director, and writer who is best known for creating the performance art group known as the Kipper Kids with his long-time collaborator, Brian Routh. The young men started performing together in the 1970s and achieved cult status. They also made TV projects and created a series of large photographic images.

 18 Tino Sehgal

Tino Sehgal
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Famous As: Artist who created installations that were known as “constructed situations
Birthdate: 1976 AD
Birthplace: London, England

 19 Dan Graham

Dan Graham
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: March 31, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Urbana, Illinois

 20 Francis Alÿs

Francis Alÿs
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium

 21 Leon Golub

Leon Golub
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 23, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: August 8, 2004

 22 Michael Snow

Michael Snow
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Famous As: Film director, Painter
Birthdate: December 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian avant-garde artist Michael Snow has also been associated with the development of the artistic scene in the US. Part of the structural film movement, he is best remembered for his experimental film Wavelength, which was a 45-minute movie on the events taking place in a room.

 23 Isa Genzken

Isa Genzken
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: November 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bad Oldesloe, Germany

 24 Zhang Huan

Zhang Huan
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Anyang, China

 25 Tania Bruguera

Tania Bruguera
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Famous As: Performance artist
Birthdate: July 18, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba

 26 Georgy Guryanov

Georgy Guryanov
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Famous As: Musician, Painter
Birthdate: February 27, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: July 20, 2013

Initially known as the drummer and backing singer for the Soviet cult rock band Kino, Georgy Guryanov later also joined Timur Novikov’s non-conformist group The New Artists. He didn’t just create innovative music for Kino but was also known as a style icon, playing the drums almost half-naked.

 27 Claudio Bravo

Claudio Bravo
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Famous As: Hyperrealist painter
Birthdate: November 8, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Valparaíso, Chile
Died: June 4, 2011

 28 Ann Hamilton

Ann Hamilton
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Famous As: Visual artist
Birthdate: June 22, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lima, Ohio, United States

 29 César Baldaccini

César Baldaccini
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Famous As: Sculptor
Birthdate: January 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: December 6, 1998

César Baldaccini was a French sculptor who had occupied the most important position among other sculptors of the Nouveau Réalisme movement. Baldaccini, who had become one of France's most prominent sculptors by 1960, was renowned for his experimental works. He is credited with creating the César du cinéma trophy, which is regarded as the most prestigious award in French cinema.

 30 Miquel Barcelo

Miquel Barcelo
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 8, 1957
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Felanitx

Known as an artistic nomad, who is constantly on the move, experiencing nature, Miquel Barceló is one of Spain's most acclaimed contemporary artists, whose works effuse a fierce energy, making them animate. Although he is best known for his mixed-media paintings, bronze sculptures and ceramics, he also works with non-traditional materials like volcanic ash, food, seaweed, sediments, homemade pigments etc.

 31 Roni Horn

Roni Horn
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Famous As: Visual Artist
Birthdate: September 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 32 George Brecht

George Brecht
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: August 27, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 5, 2008

 33 Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: 1932 AD
Birthplace: Alice Springs, Australia
Died: June 21, 2002

One of the most popular Aboriginal artists from Australia, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was raised in the Australian bush and later often depicted the terrain in his paintings. Starting his career as a carver, he later became part of the Aboriginal Art Movement. Dreamings remains one of his best-known paintings.

 34 Eduardo Kac

Eduardo Kac
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: July 3, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 35 Miroslav Tichý

Miroslav Tichý
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Famous As: Photographer, Artist
Birthdate: November 20, 1926
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kyjov , Czech Republic
Died: April 12, 2011

 36 Thomas Demand

Thomas Demand
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Famous As: Sculptor
Birthdate: 1964 AD
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

Thomas Demand is a German photographer and sculptor who had his debut solo exhibition in 1992 at Tanit Galerie in Munich. He then went on to display his works at popular art galleries like the Museum of Modern Art, Neue Nationalgalerie, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. In 2011, he was nominated for the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.

 37 Matthew Wong

Matthew Wong
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Famous As: Landscape Painter
Birthdate: March 8, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: October 2, 2019

Known for his bold colors and mesmerizing landscapes, Canadian artist Matthew Wong was a self-taught painter. After making Facebook a medium to showcase his paintings, he bagged gallery exhibitions in Hong Kong and New York. Struggling with depression, he killed himself at 35 and failed to witness a hit 2019 posthumous show.

 38 Bracha L. Ettinger

Bracha L. Ettinger
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: March 23, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

An M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger initially worked as psychoanalyst in Israel and England. Although self taught, she later decided to become a professional artist, eventually moving to Paris, where along with painting, drawing and photography, she also started writing and began serving as visiting professor at various European and Asian universities.

 39 Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 29, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Yixing, China
Died: June 25, 2010

 40 Pietro Longhi

Pietro Longhi
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 5, 1701
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Republic of Venice
Died: May 8, 1785

 41 Mimmo Rotella

Mimmo Rotella
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: October 7, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Catanzaro, Italy
Died: January 8, 2006

Italian artist Mimmo Rotella is best remembered for his double décollages, made out of torn paper advertisements. Part of the Lettrism movement, he also became known as one of the Les Affichistes artists. A Fulbright scholar, he later joined the New Realism movement. He also experimented with geometric painting and poetry.

 42 Cildo Meireles

Cildo Meireles
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: 1948 AD
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 43 Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa

Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: 1952 AD
Birthplace: Manama, Bahrain

 44 Lee Ufan

Lee Ufan
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: June 24, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Haman, South Korea

 45 Joos van Cleve

Joos van Cleve
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: 1485 AD
Birthplace: Kleve, Germany
Died: 1541 AD

 46 Yto Barrada

Yto Barrada
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: 1971 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France

 47 Al Held

Al Held
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: July 27, 2005

 48 Huang Yong Ping

Huang Yong Ping
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: February 18, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Xiamen, China
Died: October 20, 2019

 49 Jean-Marc Bustamante

Jean-Marc Bustamante
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 4, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Toulouse, France

Best known for his photographs and installations, Jean-Marc Bustamante had begun his career as an assistant to photographer William Klein. One of his most famous series was Something is Missing. He also produced countless projects with French sculptor Bernard Bazile, as the duo Bazile Bustamante.

 50 Shusaku Arakawa

Shusaku Arakawa
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Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: July 6, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Died: May 18, 2010

Along with his wife and collaborator Madeline Gins, artist and architect Shusaku Arakawa designed buildings such as the Bioscleave house, which included surrealist features, such as sand-dune-shaped floors and the lack of doors. His art and his Reversible Destiny Foundation were geared toward increasing human longevity.

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