Everyone knows the big artists like Da Vinci, Monet, Dali or Warhol, but sometimes it feels like there is no one to match their importance in today's society. Of course, it is hard to tell who will have the greatest influence in the years to come, but art is a revolution right now, both socially and technologically. It has become easier to get work known and purchased, but it has become harder to achieve fame.
One of the youngest people on this list is Olivia Bee at age 20. She began her career in photography after accidentally being placed in a darkroom class in the sixth grade. By the time she was 15, she was doing commissions for Converse. Her goal is to create an instantaneous feeling of nostalgia, and one could say she accomplishes just that. Her Flickr contains a lot of particularly strong work, including a series titled "The Brink of Devotion" done for Lady Magazine. She has also worked on commission for Vans creating a set of images revolving around a legendary adolescence. Bee is an outstanding up-and-comer who will be producing great work for a very long time.
Diana Cooper was born in 1964, making her the oldest member of this group, but she has only gained recognition in the last two decades. Her "Constructions" work often combines sculpture, drawing, photography and painting as well as many other art forms and materials to create complicated, almost geometric pieces highly reminiscent of what you would expect to see if you pried open a hard drive.
Chris Verene is known for his medium format photos – printed from square film negatives, usually at six inches by six inches – depicting the lives of his family and friends. Although "family and friends" can be pretty contrived, his photos are so wholly unglamorous that they become frighteningly real. The pictures are taken in nursing homes, emergency rooms, trailer parks, fast food restaurants and mental hospitals. In one part of his book he captures the life of his cousin, Steve. One image indicates Steve is with his daughter at a diner, shortly after his wife left them. The next page shows him living with his mother after the divorce and a third image indicates that he has not seen his children since. Everyone's heard stories like these, but no one has thought to capture them as art. It was through that thought process that Verene has earned his place among the new greats.
Another artist worth mentioning is Tauba Auerbach who is also the most well-known of the bunch, as her RGB Colorspace Atlas became nominally Internet famous a few years back. The work, if you have seen it or not, is a square book that contains every possible shade on the color spectrum within its pages. Her other work often relies heavily on patterns and color, especially "unnatural" colors and pixelation. Auerbach's work is very simple conceptually, but simple work is often the hardest to find in the art world.