In 2022, it was business as (un)usual in the art world.
Frieze Seoul and Paris+ par Art Basel made triumphant arrivals on the scene, while FIAC departed in a fog of uncertainty. The 59th Venice Biennale offered a heady fusion of surrealism and activism, controversy engulfed Documenta fifteen, and climate change crusaders doused multifarious liquids over a range of priceless art. Christo’s final posthumous work was unveiled, the crypto crash set the world of NFTs on fire, and Damien Hirst set fire to 1,000 of his paintings via live stream.
In 2022, we were never short of talking points. But as we know, the only way to get under the skin of the art world is to talk to those shaping it: the artists. Here are 10 Wallpaper* art interviews that defined the year.
TOP 10 ART INTERVIEWS OF 2022
1. The year of Cecilia Vicuña
In 2022, Chilean artist, poet and activist Cecilia Vicuña had what is known as a moment. In April, she was honoured with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 59th Venice Biennale; she was the subject of a major survey show at the Guggenheim in New York; and is now dominating Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall for the 2022 Hyundai Commission. We visited the artist’s New York studio earlier this year to discuss reclaiming oppressed histories with vigour, resilience and love.
2. Thomas Struth and Chris Levine on photographing Queen Elizabeth II
In September 2022, Britain – and the world – lost Queen Elizabeth II. During her remarkable 70-year reign, few were given the opportunity to photograph her; even fewer rose to the occasion with a portrait that held such longevity in the public imagination. Two artists honoured with this career-defining moment were Chris Levine and Thomas Struth, who looked back on the making of their portraits in interviews with us to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
3. Yayoi Kusama: ‘Painting helps me to keep away thoughts of death’
In November, legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama opened her major retrospective at M+, Hong Kong (on view until 14 May 2023). As she told writer, Megan C Hills: ‘I fight pain, anxiety, and fear every day, and the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art. Painting helps me to keep away thoughts of death for myself. That is the power of art.’
4. Wolfgang Tillmans on 35 years of shaping photography
At the opening of Wolfgang Tillmans’ major retrospective ‘To Look Without Fear’ opened at MoMA, Wallpaper’s US Editor Pei-Ru Keh interviewed the acclaimed photographer. He described 35 years of activism, breaking conventions and capturing ‘the weight of existence’ through the everyday. ‘I want to lay reality bare,’ he said.
5. Anish Kapoor in Venice: gore, glory and blackest black magic
We visited the south London studio of Anish Kapoor ahead of his major two-venue retrospective during the 59th Venice Biennale. There, the Turner Prize-winner introduced the world to his much-anticipated Vantablack sculptures, which use technology that absorbs 99.8 per cent of visible light.
6. Es Devlin’s spiritual ode to biodiversity at Tate Modern
Acclaimed artist and stage designer Es Devlin is used to being in the limelight, but even by her standards, Come Home Again, a multisensory public installation commissioned by Cartier on the Tate Modern riverside, was a project of great prominence. Wallpaper* magazine editor TF Chan visited Devlin in her London studio to understand the full scope of this space for education, contemplation and conservation action.
7. Cyprien Gaillard on chaos, reorder and excavating a Paris in flux
We interviewed French artist Cyprien Gaillard ahead of his major two-part show,
‘Humpty \ Dumpty’ at Palais de Tokyo and Lafayette Anticipations, coinciding with the inaugural Paris+ par Art Basel. Through abandoned clocks, love locks and asbestos, the epic show, on until 8 January 2023, dissects the human obsession with structural restoration.
8. Carrie Mae Weems on nurturing a new generation of image making
To round off a year of art moments in our December 2022 issue, acting editor-in-chief Bill Prince spotlighted the collaboration between pioneering American artist Carrie Mae Weems and emerging talent Camila Rodríguez Triana as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. 2023 will be a big year for Weems, with her first solo exhibition in a UK institution opening at London’s Barbican in June.
9. William Kentridge: ‘art must defend the uncertain’
For our October 2022 Legends Issue, Azu Nwagbogu, founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation, profiles William Kentridge, South Africa’s most influential contemporary artist ahead of his recent major exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. Nwagbogu explored how Kentridge’s work holds a mirror to the limits of human intervention in society, not just in South Africa but worldwide.
10. Helen Pashgian: ‘making art is like a divine itch’
For more than 60 years, Pasadena-based artist Helen Pashgian has toyed with the limits of optical perception and material perfection – ‘making art is like a divine itch’, she told us. A pioneer of California’s Light & Space movement, her hyper-polished spherical sculptures trap light and radiate colour, as Hunter Drohojowska-Philp discovered when she visited the artist’s Pasadena studio.
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.
BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA brings Esther Mahlangu’s art to life at Frieze LA
BMW’s Art Car Project has rarely impacted on the company’s everyday business of building cars. With the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, could all that be about to change?
By Jonathan Bell Published
This Walter S White house in Indio is given a new lease of life
This Walter S White house in Indio, California, has been redesigned for the 21st century by Sean Gaston
By Hadani Ditmars Published
The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2024 celebrate UK’s rising creatives
Here are The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2024 winners, spanning theatre writing, jazz composition and regenerative design
By Tianna Williams Published
Cyprien Gaillard on chaos, reorder and excavating a Paris in flux
We interviewed French artist Cyprien Gaillard ahead of his major two-part show, ‘Humpty \ Dumpty’ at Palais de Tokyo and Lafayette Anticipations (until 8 January 2023). Through abandoned clocks, love locks and asbestos, he dissects the human obsession with structural restoration
By Harriet Lloyd-Smith Published
Yayoi Kusama on love, hope and the power of art
There’s still time to see Yayoi Kusama’s major retrospective at M+, Hong Kong (until 14 May). In our interview, the legendary Japanese artist vows to continue to ‘create art to leave the message of “love forever”’
By Megan C Hills Last updated
Antony Gormley interview: ‘We’re at more than a tipping point. We’re in a moment of utter crisis’
We visit the London studio of British sculptor Antony Gormley ahead of his major new show ‘Body Field’ at Xavier Hufkens Brussels
By Harriet Lloyd-Smith Last updated
Photographer Maisie Cousins on nostalgia, impulsive making and ‘collecting useless things’
Explore the vision of British artist Maisie Cousins in ‘Through the lens’, our monthly series spotlighting photographers who are Wallpaper* contributors
By Sophie Gladstone Last updated
Rashid Johnson in Menorca: a journey through migration, longing and togetherness
We visited Rashid Johnson’s Brooklyn studio ahead of the artist’s show at Hauser & Wirth Menorca, which contemplates drift – physical and emotional
By Osman Can Yerebakan Published
Step inside the kaleidoscopic universe of Pipilotti Rist
Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, who headlines Wallpaper’s November 2022 issue, has transformed the way we see, with a poetic yet playful practice spanning three decades. Here, and in a special portfolio, she reveals how she has liberated video art from its conventions, imbued the digital realm with emotion, animated public spaces, and harnessed the healing powers of colour
By Jessica Klingelfuss Last updated
Gathering: the new Soho gallery blending art and social activism
Gathering, the newest gallery resident in London’s Soho, will focus on contemporary art exploring systemic social issues. Ahead of Tai Shani’s inaugural show, we speak to founders Alex Flick and Trinidad Fombella about their vision for the gallery
By Harriet Lloyd-Smith Last updated
Olivia Arthur on expanding photography and minimising preconceptions
‘Through the lens’ is our monthly series that spotlights photographers who are Wallpaper* contributors. Here we explore the vision of Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur
By Sophie Gladstone Last updated