You Had Me At Hello: 150 Contemporary Artworks That Altered My Consciousness - Part 2

I look at a lot of art. Some of it good, some of it bad. Every once in a while, I come across artwork that fundamentally changes me, even if I don’t understand it at the time. A friend of mine recently asked me which works had had the greatest impact on me over the years, so I compiled my thoughts. This is not a greatest hits list and many artists I love are not included in it. These are all works that have been, for whatever reason, seared into my brain. To be honest, there are a number of artists on this list whose overall practice I am not a particular fan of, yet, they got to me at least once. – Steven Zevitas, Publisher

David Hammons, Untitled (Night Train), 1989


Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Rachel Harrison, Huffy Howler, 2004


She has helped to redefine what sculpture can be and how it operates.
Courtesy of Greene Naftali

Mona Hatoum, Incommunicado, 1993


Courtesy of The Tate

Barkley L. Hendricks, Photo Bloke, 2016


When I walked into Jack Shainman’s booth at the Armory Show in 2016 there it was. Unassailable masterpiece.
Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery

Eva Hesse, Right After, 1969


Everything about this work is perfect.
Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum

Jim Hodges, Untitled (one day it all comes true), 2013


Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery

Evan Holloway, Installation at Paula Cooper Gallery, 2017


Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery

Roni Horn, Installation at Nasher Sculpture Center, 2017


Courtesy of Hauser and Wirth

Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Couch for a Long Time, 2009


Courtesy of Saatchi Gallery

Pierre Huyghe, The Third Memory, 2000 (video)


Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery

Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1969


Courtesy of the Artist

Alfredo Jaar, The Sound of Silence, 2006


Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Jasper Johns, White Flag. 1955


Probably my favorite contemporary artwork. Cezanne taught me how painting operated and this painting completed the education. Image and facture effortlessly leading to an inevitable content. Masterpiece.
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood), 2008


Unforgettable image.                 
Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery

Donald Judd, Untitled 1991


Courtesy of the Judd Foundation.

Isaac Julien, Ten Thousand Waves, 2010 (video)


Courtesy of the Artist

Aniish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, 2004-2006


The greatest piece of public art ever? Don’t know. But it gives people endless joy.
Courtesy of the City of Chicago

Mike Kelley, Day is Done, 2005 (Video)


Courtesy of Gagosian

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue White, 1962


My favorite Kelly painting and one of the best abstract paintings ever made. I have spent hours with this work.
Courtesy of the Rose Art Museum

William Kentridge, Felix in Exile, 1994 (video)


Mind blowing.
Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery

Martin Kippenberger, Dialog with the Youth of Today (Detail), 1981


Courtesy of Galerie Gisela Capitain

Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors, 2012 (video)


Courtesy of Luhring Augustine

Yves Klein, Fire Painting No. 6, 1961


Courtesy of the Artist

Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986


Can kitsch and fine art cohabitate? Yep. Koons proved it with this work. I am not a huge Koons fan, but this sculpture was a game changer on many levels. One of the most important works of the twentieth-century.
Courtesy of The Broad

David Korty, Blue Shelf 14, 2013


Courtesy of Sadie Coles

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013


I did not want to leave.
Courtesy of David Zwirner

Wolfgang Laib, Pollen from Hazelnut, 1992


This work is a placeholder. My first experience with Laib’s work was a 1998 solo at Sperone Westwater in Soho that I cannot find an image of. I remember a house form and a staircase. I remember the smell of the materials. I remember feeling a sort of shamanistic energy. Magic.
Courtesy of Sperone Westwater

Zoe Leonard, I want a president, 1992


Courtesy of the Artist

David X. Levine, Suzanne Pleshette, 2012


I first saw Levine’s work at Art Chicago in the late 1990s. In the interest of full disclosure, I have represented his work as a dealer for a number of years. Working primarily with colored pencils, often on a large scale, Levine produces one potent work after another. The content of his work is inextricably linked with his painstaking process. He is magic and completely under-recognized.
Courtesy of the Artist

Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl, 1962


Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Glenn Ligon, Double America 2, 2014 


Courtesy of The Broad

Christian Marclay, The Clock, 2010 (video)


I still can’t believe Marclay pulled this one off. Mesmerizing and worth the time.
Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery

Brice Marden, The Dylan Painting, 1966


One of my favorite paintings. Like its subject, it is raspy. The line at the painting’s bottom kills me…it is an entrance/an exit/a denier of complete object-hood. Marden is the master of gray and one of the top five living painters.
Courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Brice Marden, Cold Mountain 6 (Bridge), 1989-1991


Courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Kerry James Marshall, De Style, 1993


Before I saw this painting, if you had asked me who the greatest living painter was I would have likely said Jasper Johns. After seeing this work, I would unequivocally give Marshall that title. It operates on every level and should be in every art history text. Kudos to Marshall for setting the aim of inserting “blackness” into the belly of museum culture and winning.
Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Agnes Martin, Night Sea, 1963


Courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Chris Martin , Painting Big, Installation at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 2011


Martin is fearless with color, materials and scale. He breaks all of the rules and somehow comes out on top.

Courtesy of the Artist

Eddie Martinez, The Feast, 2010


This painting is the culmination of phase one of Martinez’s career. He is, to my mind, one of the most naturally gifted painters out there. His abilities as a draughtsman are virtually unparalleled.
Courtesy of The Saatchi Collection

Andrew Masullo, 4510, 2005


Only what is necessary. Nothing else. One of the best pure painters working today, and an amazing guy.
Courtesy of the Artist

Tony Matelli, Josh, 2010


Courtesy of Marlborough Chelsea

Gordon Matta-Clark, Splitting, 1974


An artist of immense importance whose influence on a younger generation is just starting to be fully appreciated.
Courtesy of MOMA

Paul McCarthy, The Garden, 1992


Courtesy of Jeffery Deitch

Sarah McEneaney, Callowhill Neighborhood, 2002


I first encountered McEneaney’s work when she was featured in an early Issue of New American Paintings. She is unquestionably one of my favorite painters working today. For 40+ years she has produced a highly personal, diaristic body of work. McEneaney has always been steadfastly dedicated to her own unique practice unswayed by art world trends. There are a number of younger artists who have adopted her “faux-naïve” style, but she owns that aesthetic space.
Courtesy of Tibor de Nagy

Ryan McGinley, Dash Bombing, 2000


There was that magic moment in the early-2000s when the Lower East Side’s art scene started to hum…Rivington Arms, Dash Snow, etc. This photo captures it for me.
Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Ryan McLaughlin, Metro, 2015


McLaughlin’s 2013 solo at the now defunct Laurel Gitlen gallery was a revelation. He is one of the best emerging painters out there. I have rarely seen a painter who attends to every inch of a work with such intensity. Every stroke, every moment counts. It is a Johns-ian feat.
Courtesy of Laurel Gitlen

Marisa Merz, Bea, 1967


Courtesy of the Artist

Donald Moffett, Lot 112411 (petunia), 2011-2012 (detail)


Courtesy of Marianne Boesky Gallery

Dianna Molzan, Untitled, 2009


Courtesy of Kaufman Repetto    

Sam Moyer, More Weight, 2014


Courtesy of Rachel Uffner Gallery

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