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9 trends That Will Move the ART WORLD Forward

Based on a survey presented in the Summer 2020 issue of ARTnews.

The Market Will Expand Online… In March, when Jodi Pollack, co-worldwide head of Sotheby’s 20th Century Design, moved her mid-season sale online, she and others in her department were concerned. What ended up happening was better than they expected.

Over the past decade at Christie’s, figures for live bidding have gone down while those for online bidding have gone up. “People learn about the objects and experience them fundamentally differently than ten years ago,” said Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas. Art and Science Will Come Together As scientists have worked on issues as overwhelming and abstract as climate change, artists have been active for their part helping convey complicated matters by other means. 

The environmentally minded TBA21-Academy has commissioned research-intensive artworks related to the warming of the world’s oceans and problems that will inevitably result. More and more institutions are following similar lines to devise scientific endeavors in increasingly ambitious ways.

Collectivity and Collaboration Will Be the Way Forward

“Collectivity is always in the air because we as people belong to a whole, and one of the interesting things about the art world is, it allows you to pose questions about the nature of that belonging over and over again—that’s what artists do,” said David Lewis, whose namesake gallery in New York participated in mega-dealer David Zwirner’s shared online “Platform” viewing-room program this past spring.

Art Shipping Will Go Green… Shipping art around the globe can leave a deep carbon footprint. A “fantastic amount of waste” is how Andrew Stramentov characterized what he saw while working in various capacities for businesses like Gagosian gallery and Sotheby’s. That’s why he set out to create a sustainable shipping product that was smart in terms of climate and tough in terms of protection.

So Will Artists’ Choice of Materials “This is the moment of the most immaterial art we will have,” said Lucia Pietroiusti, curator of a long-running General Ecology research project at the Serpentine Galleries in London. 

“There is a sense that materials should be let go.” Translation: the art world is ready to consider the ecological ramifications of how it operates, particularly when it comes to the very things artists are using to make their work. Artists Will Be Nonexclusive

As the conventional thinking goes, when a mega-gallery sweeps in to take on an artist, that artist’s former dealers—often the ones who built their careers—get left by the wayside.  But that may be changing. More and more, artists are moving up, down, and sideways while retaining relationships with galleries working at different scales. 

Net Art Will Make a Comeback Net art (or, as its originators tend to call it) burst onto the scene in the mid to late 1990s and had tech geeks and artists enthralled—remember “new media”?—for about five years. 

Then it receded. Recently, the genre has come in not only for reappraisal but resurgence. 

Surrealism Will Continue Its Rise on the Market “Recent years have shown a rapidly ascending market for [René] Magritte,” Emmanuel Di Donna, director of New York’s Di Donna Galleries. Since then, Surrealists have only continued their market climb, with artists like Magritte, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dalí seeing increasing auction figures and establishing the movement’s legacy at the forefront of global collecting.

Hypebeasts Will Roar Louder

With the boundaries between traditional collecting categories and luxury markets continuing to blur, the time is ripe for an even bigger explosion of interest in hype sales, a realm of the art market with intensifying interest in pop culture and cross-branded collectibles. As a new class of younger prospective buyers looks to invest, the auction houses have stepped up with sales featuring limited editions and offerings conceived collaboratively between artists and designers.

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