MIKA ROTTENBERG, 33
Of all the shit jobs Mika Rottenberg worked after moving to New York 12 years ago, antiques fakery at least afforded her an outlet. "We would bang on these Chinese coffee tables and fuck them up," she says, "and I would paint perverted things into the landscape scenes. There were all these people with weird outfits, so I'd paint, like, long black pubic hair or armpit hair." In the years since, Rottenberg has shifted her focus from painting to video (her installation Cheese was featured in the 2008 Whitney Biennial). She has filmed a giant champagne-glass-shaped Jacuzzi in a honeymoon suite in the Poconos ("Everything smelled bad in that room—and it was $800 a night") and a rubber plantation in India. "The entrance point to my work is process—how things are made—and materials, tracing back all the energy that's placed into an object." This year Rottenberg will pour her own energy into three solo shows, including one at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
[Photo Gallery: View Mika Rottenberg's art portfolio]
Gardar Eide Einarsson
GARDAR EIDE EINARSSON, 34
Oslo-born artist Gardar Eide Einarsson went to Tokyo 10 times last year. He's obsessed with Japan's underworld—and criminal syndicates in general, whose symbols, slogans, and iconography have made their way not only onto his body (in 2007 he came home with a yen symbol tattooed behind his right ear in ink made from the ashes of actual yen) but also onto his canvases, installations, and sculptures, which sell for as much as $45,000. They're stark, mostly black-and-white images—borrowed from comic books, outlaw-biker patches, and hard-core-punk album covers—rendered in oozing drips of thick black paint. The walls of his Brooklyn studio are currently occupied by 12 monochromatic paintings he's finishing up for an April show called "Another Modern Moment Completed." "I didn't want to do fucking Xeroxes or installations that have a lot of stuff that's all appropriated," Einarsson says. "I like a lot of that stuff, but it seems a little played out. I wanted to make something that was formwise a little bit boring. I didn't want it to be like, 'Oh, this is a show by a young artist,' or whatever. I wanted a show that could have been done by some 70-year-old dude. I just want to fuck with people's expectations."
[Photo Gallery: View Gardar Eide Einarsson's art portfolio]
SLATER BRADLEY, 35
Eleven years ago, Slater Bradley was introduced to his doppelgänger by Chloë Sevigny. "It was a weird series of events," says Bradley, who's known for the haunting, morbid imagery in his work, which includes video, film, painting, and photography. "People would be like, 'Oh, I saw you and I said hi, but you were acting kind of weird.'" When Bradley finally met the man, a model, he decided to incorporate him into an epic video cycle, casting him first as Joy Division's Ian Curtis, then as Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson. Now Bradley has decided to kill his muse. "It's sort of inferred that he dies by my hands," he says, "which, if you're going to do a doppelgänger project for 10 years, you have to do." These days, his 8mm movie camera is trained on the empty lot under the Manhattan Bridge and across from his apartment, where he'll be filming dancing ballerinas on Kodak's discontinued Kodachrome film. "Nothing's ever too high-concept for me," Bradley says, "because nobody ever gets it anyway."
[Photo Gallery: View Slater Bradley's art portfolio]