Edward Hopper defined 20th-century realism with austere, eerie scenes that convey the isolation of modern life. He infused his paintings of stripped down architecture, desolate interiors, coastal vistas and cityscapes with an appreciation of light and shadow that contributes to a significant sense of alienation. In the most famous painting by Hopper, Nighthawks (1942), three diners sit at a counter in a brightly lit restaurant while the streets outside remain dark and empty. After the artist received his first solo exhibition in 1920 at the newly opened Whitney Studio Club (forerunner of the Whitney Museum of American Art), he gained commercial and curatorial renown. In 1952, Hopper represented the United States at the Venice Biennale. His work has been acquired by institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.
In his large-scale murals and smaller works on doors and wood panels, Alexandre Farto, also known as Vhils, combines detailed figuration with an involved material process: it rips through the medium by perforating using chemicals like bleach, making its images (predominantly portraits) inextricable from the material itself. With this subtractive process, Vhils unites elements of painting and sculpture and reflects on how the built environment absorbs change and social development. Vhils studied at Central Saint Martins. He has currently exhibited in cities around the world and produced collaborations with several institutions, including the EDP Foundation in Lisbon, the Pompidou Centre, the Barbican Centre, the CAFA Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Dean Stockton, better known by his pseudonym D*Face, creates incisive and irreverent paintings, prints, sculptures and murals that satirize popular culture. Their targets range from mainstream consumerism to the American Dream. Employing a pop aesthetic, D*Face references cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and celebrities like Kurt Cobain, covering instantly recognizable icons with meanings of death, excess and greed. The artist cites New York's graffiti and skateboarding cultures as formative influences, and his work evokes the styles of Roy Lichtenstein It is Andy Warhol. D*Face he has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Barcelona, Paris, Melbourne, Tokyo and Taipei, and his public works can be found in many other cities.
In the late 1990s, the anonymous French artist Invader began cementing and gluing Space Invaders ceramic mosaics – pixelated characters from the 1978 video game of the same name – through the streets of Paris. Invader expanded its roster to include the Pac-Man and other popular 8-bit characters, and their works now adorn cities around the world, from Los Angeles to Kathmandu. Along with these clandestine works of street art, the Invader produced mosaics in Perspex panel, plywood and book covers. He also created paintings, drawings and silkscreens in his pixelated style. In 2019, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti brought one of the works of Invader to the International Space Station, about 248 miles above Earth. Invader has exhibited internationally, with shows in Los Angeles, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong, among other cities.
One of the most acclaimed artists to emerge from post-war Asia, Takashi Murakami is known for its signature “Superflat” aesthetic: a colorful, two-dimensional style that straddles the divide between art and culture pop, as it combines elements of anime, Japanese nihonga and ukiyo-e woodcuts. Common motifs throughout the work of Takashi Murakami - which encompasses paintings, sculptures, prints and more - include smiling flowers, bears and Mr. DOB inspired by Mickey Mouse. Takashi Murakami has presented at institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, MoMA PS1, Mori Art Museum, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, Museum für Moderne Kunst and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, among others. artists, Kaikai Kiki Co.