We Are Young: AAM Announces its “15 under 50″ List

 [Rachel Harrison at Regen Projects, Los Angeles, 2010]

[Rachel Harrison at Regen Projects, Los Angeles, 2010]

As MOCA trustees, supporters, and creative employees continue sniping about what “contemporary” should mean, The American Art Museum offers a happier alternative. On August, 8, AAM announced the 2012 nominees for “15 under 50.” The award submits to few boundaries beyond age; artists work in various media from sculpture to sound installation to photography. Regardless of background, each artist offers a unique contribution to new movements in contemporary art.

Our newest artist generation, according to AAM:

Matthew Buckingham, Kathy Butterly, Christina Fernandez, Amy Franceschini, Rachel Harrison, Oliver Herring, Glenn Kaino, Sowon Kwon, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, Jaime Permuth, Will Ryman, Ryan Trecartin, Mark Tribe, Mary Simpson and Sara VanDerBeek.

When the jury announces its winner in October, the prestigious award comes with a drool-worthy bonus: $25,000. So, while MOCA seems to have reached an impasse (quite literally with Eli Broad withholding payments), young artists are unfazed as they continue pushing contemporary art in new directions. Three cheers that.

The Smithsonian blog will profile each nominee over the coming weeks. For now, here are the first five: Matthew Buckingham, Kathy Butterly, Christina Fernandez, Amy Franceschini, and Rachel Harrison.

Kit Warchol