Mika Rottenberg, 30, Video Artist
Rottenberg takes some of the most exhaustively fraught terrain of contemporary art—gender politics, post-Marxism—and makes it light, funny, and visually seductive. This Argentina-born, Israel-raised video-installation artist’s best-known works feature remarkably shaped women (we’re talking extremes here: large, tall, brawny) in factorylike spaces as they perform meaningless tasks with Sisyphean redundancy. Her Dadaesque machines— a motif that brings to mind Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times—set the stage for utter absurdity. Witness Mary’s Cherries, in which a female wrestler churns fingernails into fruit.