'Social Sculpture' pioneer
Given the extent to which they are part of the fabric of a city, Rick Lowe’s artworks don’t travel as easily as those created by other artists on this list, but the Houston-based former painter and his Joseph Beuys-inspired ‘social sculptures’ are increasingly influential (not least with artists like Theaster Gates). His lifework Project Row Houses (1993–) is a conversion, with the help of local artists, of six blocks of shotgun dwellings in Houston’s Third Ward neighbourhood into 40 houses blending arts venues, studios and a community centre. Subsequent projects have taken place in Los Angeles, Dallas, Florida, New Orleans, South Carolina and more. Appointed by President Obama to the National Council of the Arts in 2013, bestowed with a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant’ the following year, the avatar of artistic urban renewal spent part of this year in Athens, working on a project (likely immigration-related, he told ArtReview this past summer) for next year’s Documenta.