I enjoy the Taschen book Art Now, a 190-page rapid survey published in 2001 of the artists the authors think are worth knowing about. Sure, that method has its drawbacks, but I really responded to some of the snippets in there. Did some web browsing on them:
Matthew Barney, who "stages timeless fictions in the form of hybrid installations, filmed performances and stylized videos." From what I gather, he films intricately-staged fictional environments, and then exhibits photographs (still frames) of those films. I think. They had it at Mass MoCA once. His Cremaster series is evidently his best-known work. Here's CREMASTER 1, which includes the cinematic trailer.
Thomas Demand also photographs fictional scenes, but he is more likely to create a stark office out of simple materials and than take a snapshot - but we don't realize it's of a fake office. (Once the PHOTOGRAPHS page loads, you can moveover to scroll some of his collection. I like "Studio.") The MoMA exhibition notes say, "Demand begins with a preexisting image culled from the media, usually of a political event, which he translates into a life-size model made of colored paper and cardboard."
Katharina Fritsch's eerie super-sized models of, I don't know, people at meetings and giant rats.
Jenny Holzer, but, hey, everyone likes Jenny Holzer. I mean, a strong sense of duty imprisons you, right?
I'd like to see Henrik Plenge Jakobsen's work in person:
And I doubt I will tire of Jeff Koons. His site is an exhaustive catalog of his work.
Steven Pippin "...succeeds in recalling for a brief moment those sentimental hopes that were once placed in photography and television..."
I wish they had included Arthur Ganson, Anna Hepler, and Steve Hollinger.