2019 is in full swing, and many art predictions and trends for this year has already come and gone, some never saw the light of day, while some have popped up, took the art industry by storm and proved to be not only a prediction relevant to this year but for the foreseeable future ahead of us. The art market, being a fickle beast as it is, can never yield any 100% guarantees, and as art dealers, critics, entrepreneurs and aficionados alike struggle to get a hold of any upcoming trend and place a firm grasp on the ever-palpitating pulse of the art industry, here we join the rat race and provide a little insight into the current state of the art industry and what it has in store for you.
Art and Technology
To start off, we have no choice but to face the unstoppable development of technology and acknowledge its omnipresent influence in just about everything we do, and yes, that means art as well.
The digital transformation in art has been a widely discussed topic for years, and recently, even artificial intelligence has left its mark on the canvas. Voices of those propagating the notion that machines do not belong in the world of artistry, and that something artificial could never create a real work of art – which is inherently an expression of human emotion – have never been louder, and the reason for that is because they need to speak up in order to be heard against the recent noise made by the opposite side. To be more precise, $432,500 worth of noise made by the first ever AI-generated artwork which was auctioned off at Christie’s just last year. “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy” may seem like a blurry, unfinished, aged, or even creepy rendition of a man’s portrait, but it is the first painting created by artificial intelligence that not only saw the light of day of an auction but was sold for nearly 45 times its upper estimate.
Aside from the usual debates of man vs machine and AI’s place in the world of art, other imposing questions arise; can artificial intelligence really be considered as the creator, or is it the people behind the algorithm? Is AI simply the next level of tool development, or will it become an art force in its own right? Are we soon to reach the point where one is not able to tell the difference between human and machine artwork, and if so, what then?
Social Media and Art
The prevalent role of social media in our daily lives has influenced even the way we look, create, and buy/exchange art. More and more artists, galleries, collectors and art aficionados turn to social networks for pretty much anything art-related. Instagram has been one of the primary platforms for boosting many creators’ careers. Many, now already famous, names have begun their ascend with few humble posts on Instagram. Just a couple of months later, their works were featured in renowned galleries such as the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Sotheby’s New York, Saatchi Gallery, and others.
Art collectors have also turned their eye on Instagram which proved to be a real treasure trove for undiscovered art and promising young stars. Hiscox Online Art Trade Report claims that almost 80% of millennial art buyers do their shopping based on Instagram finds.
Galleries and museums across the world are getting in line with the modern trends and many establishments have already shared their latest exhibitions online, allowing for a much wider audience to enjoy the exhibited artwork from the comfort of their own device.
Diversity and Equality in Art
Diversity in the art industry has been on the path of incline for quite some time now, more and more artists coming from all different parts all over the world have been making a name for themselves. Again, the worldwide trends of globalization and attempting to impose equality in all aspects of society have also echoed in art. The cultural shifts may not be happening fast, but they are the quiet waters running deep, and slowly but surely, they found their way into the art galleries, museums, auctions, and shows.
Artworks by minority groups across the USA and Europe are becoming more represented and sold in both the lower-tiered galleries and shows and as well as the high-end auctions and exhibitions. Inclusion and diversity have made a significant leap in the art world in 2019 and will most likely continue to do so in the near future.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements raised a lot of dust that has been accumulating on the unsettled questions of gender equality, women rights, and feminism. From politicians and public figures to celebrities and artists, every sphere of life was rattled by some kind of scandal, controversy or misconduct. Numerous visual artists focused their creative energies to express their views and emotions about the issues that seemed almost too overdue for the spotlight. From prominent galleries creating entire shows with works inspired by the alleged and confirmed sexual predators, to famous artists supporting and participating in protests, shouting against those who got away with their misconduct, the waves created by these movements are not to be stopped any time soon. Politics-inspired art has always been a burning topic, and in the flammable climate we built for ourselves today, it seems like it’s going to be pretty hot this year.
State of the Art Market
Last year saw the US maintain its position as the world’s largest art market, and judging by the numbers of this year so far, they tend to remain number one. Will they break the highest recorded level of sales from 2018 which amounted to a total of $29.9 billion, it remains to be seen.
Decorative art and antiques continue their growth from last year, reaching a total of $29.1 billion of value in public auctions. With the expansion of online art trading, it is predicted that these numbers will likely be even bigger by the end of 2019.