In 2013, being what we call an artist is so nebulous a concept the practice is hard to define. That makes choosing the most influential artists of the last ten years even more difficult, especially considering the cultural contrasts and aesthetic binaries at play throughout this time.
The last decade has been a whirlwind of high-low arts battles: Jeff Koons reemerged as one of the highest-paid and still critically derided artists of our time. As street art became accepted as a legitimate art form, British firebrand Banksy kept things somehow both profitable and provocative. A crew of over-drugged and sometimes over-hyped Lower East Siders scrambled to the top of the art world, led by Ryan McGinley and Dash Snow. Performance became a cause célèbre, and Marina Abramovic became an actual celebrity. It was a time of massive shifts, aesthetically and philosophically.
Considering how broad a definition art has at this moment, the people here are as various as they are influential. We selected artists that shaped public consciousness, others who redefined what the art market is, those who bridged the gap between product and process, those who’ve had a profound effect on other artists, those who express the cultural condition most effectively, and those who spent the most time in the limelight—these are The Most Influential Artists of the Last Decade.