The "Zeus' Forehead" Award* for Shortest Documented Period of Emergence by an Artist
And the winner is: Gareth James, who was the subject of an Artforum "First Take: 12 New Artists" column in 2004 and is now Chair of the Visual Arts Department at Columbia University. This suggests either that James is an incredibly fast worker or our system of evaluating art and artists needs to go to the shop.
Ironically, two years ago James almost received the "Young Methuselah" Award for Longest Documented Period of Emergence by an Artist, since it appeared he had been around quite a while before his "First Take," which is supposedly for unknowns. (Then-Whitney Museum Curator Debra Singer picked James, who was, for a time, assistant to the director of the Whitney Independent Study Program.) In '04, an ISP alumnus convinced the committee (me) not to give that award because he swore James was still emerging.
*Formerly the Sixth Day Award, after the Schwarzenegger movie where all the clones grow to full maturity in a matter of days.
Are you familiar with Paul Chan? I believe it is only 3yrs sense he was included in his first group show at Greene Naftali; he recieved a fantastic revue from Roberta Smith. Last year it seemed he was included in almost every new media festival, and yes, he is in this years Whitney.
Chan's work is good and certainly deserves props. It may be a sign of the art world's talent starvation that something like his work is immediately pounced on by all the usual suspects, so the viewing public feels beaten over the head before he's even had his sophomore show. He needed a few years to flop around in obscurity--now he has to make all his mistakes in public.