5 Millennial Artists You Should Know About


William Carlos Williams said, “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”

Not to fear, the millennials will live forever through their educated appreciation of the arts. These five young artists are proof that art from the next great generation will continue to rise through instant exchanges with social, political and cultural stimuli as well as a healthy dose of what can’t be covered by the news.

1. Ryan Trecartin

Filmmaker and artist, Trecartin is the unofficial figurehead of millennial artists. His first feature-length film, A Family Finds Entertainment (2004) was his BFA thesis project at Rhode Island School of Design. It’s no accident that this young artist has since shown work in the forms of video, sculpture, new media and installation in countless shows around the globe. Trecartin appeals to the millennial's ability of information absorption. Said Patrick Langley, “Trecartin’s films don’t pretend to distill or filter, but spew and sputter like information overflow pipes.” He’s also made his work incredibly accessible to us by uploading his video projects to Vimeo. His newest project, not yet titled, premiered at the Venice Biennale at the end of May.

2. Rosson Crow

Millennials are, perhaps prematurely, infatuated with nostalgia.  While some of us express this through Instagram and eating Lucky Charms, Rosson Crow has struck members of every generation with her “exuberant large-scale depictions of nostalgia-laden interiors that blend historical allusion and theatrical illusion.” You can see her work July 16-August 17 at Friedman Benda in New York. The group exhibition, And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music, will feature “a group of artists who define the collective party experience.” Crow’s work dances to the music of vaudeville in a manner millennials and everyone are the room hear loud and clear.  

3. Kenneth Pietrobono

Pietrobono creates installations and other works which can scream or whisper their social/political themes, depending on how closely you pay attention. Regardless of the volume, his single voice both speaks to and represents his peers in New York City and beyond. You may have seen him around town. He’s the guy wearing political phrases printed on his t-shirts, but he hasn’t stopped there. From June 2- September 2, you can see Jackson Park’s first public art installation, Selections from the Modern Landscape (Jackson Square) in which Pietrobono has created signage to encourage reflection on “the infrastructure of modern day society.”

4. Rosie Herrera Dance Company

Unlike other artists who speak directly to millennials, Herrera defines the art of this generation by shying from definition. I had the pleasure of seeing her biggest work, Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret, in various stages of development, first in 2009 at the American Dance Festival and on the same stage in 2011. This multimedia collection of video, dance, sketch comedy and drag reveals surreal lands and narratives, each as poignant as it is entertaining. On a whole, Herrera's work reflects her colorful Miami upbringing, her history with the cabaret as well as her substantial training at the New World School where she graduated in 2006.  Following the company's appearances at the Joyce and the Baryshnikov Arts Center, the American Dance Festival is commissioning yet another new work this summer.

5. Zane Lewis (not the country musician)

Multimedia art defines the millennial generation because it mimics the Attention Deficit Disorder we’ve all acquired, being nurtured by instant media. Lewis’s hybrid of painting and sculpture is literally covered in shiny objects. He’s known not only for breaking the barriers of medium, but also for “making art bleed” by dripping paint off the canvas and onto the gallery floor. Although Lewis proclaimed himself temporarily dead in 2009, he has been living and working in Brooklyn, so keep your eyes peeled.