As 2021 draws to a close, the landscape for artists and art collectors is already much different than just a year earlier.
Caught between the combined forces of digitalization and the pandemic, the art industry had been forced to adapt quickly to continue meeting the demands of art collectors and the needs of struggling artists.
NFTs have certainly drawn major attention for their potential ability to bring collecting into the virtual realm while simultaneously creating a much-needed new revenue stream for artists.
Despite the news frenzy over NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, that’s far from the only trend.
There’s also been a boom in popularity of new subjects of modern artists and a surge of online exhibitions and virtual installations, new approaches from museums, and new ways for investors to leverage art to their financial benefit.
Here’s a few 2021 art trends worth a look.
Art Exhibitions Go Virtual
Like nearly all brick-and-mortar institutions, art galleries were forced to pivot quickly in 2021. They had to embrace virtual platforms that could provide people something like the in-person experience through a computer screen in someone’s living room.
Several museums have risen to the challenge admirably, creating exceptional virtual exhibitions. Great examples include:
- The Centre Pompidou with its Matisse
- Paris Palais de Tokyo with its exhibition “Anticorps”
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection with its exhibition “Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity”
It’s now possible to enjoy many legendary artists from your favorite museums and exhibition spaces — all while sitting on the couch.
Donating Art With A Tax Break
Fractional ownership has become a fascinating new trend among wealthy art collectors looking for a way to own expensive works of art while simultaneously receiving a tax break.
In essence, collectors can donate a portion of an artwork and share ownership with a museum, Bloomberg described in a recent article.
This tactic has become increasingly popular as the wealthy look for new strategies to gain advantages in their dealings with their government’s tax agency, said Thomas Kane, a Chicago-based wealth manager and art aficionado.
“While technology has made buying and selling art online easier than ever, it has also created new opportunities for how art collectors manage their collections,” Chicago’s Thomas Kane said. “I think it’s likely we will see more novel approaches like this in the near future.”
Museums Embrace Contemporary Art
Not every trend is virtual.
In wealthier countries that have already vaccinated a significant portion of the population, the economies have reopened, and museums have finally reopened their doors — the actual ones.
The Denver Art Museum is at the forefront of the physical reimagining of museums for the 21st century, The New York Times reported. The museum, which sees 800,000 annual visitors, spent $150 million not only rearranging its exhibitions, but creating new interactive spaces, like a “thread” studio integrated with its textile galleries and a design lab where visitors can learn about the museum’s decor.
The museum is “right on time with current trends,” the article said.
“Which is to say, with a significant shift in emphasis from 19th-century European to 20th-century global; an endorsement of fashion and furniture design as equal partners to painting and sculpture in the encyclopedic museum hierarchy; a comprehensive effort to be socially woke; and with a sincere invitation for visitors to get their hands on things.”
As we draw near to 2022, it’s clear that we will continue to see many fascinating new approaches to making, buying and presenting art. In a world with so much uncertainty, that’s something we can look forward to.