Artwork gala’s again on observe
This 12 months noticed a lot of the artwork world try a return to “post-pandemic” normality, with main gala’s reminiscent of Artwork Basel and Frieze London again of their common slots and with no social distancing measures.
Others like Expo Chicago and Tefaf Maastricht held their first editions because the pandemic. The latter was additionally the positioning of an audacious daylight theft, during which a number of males—at the least certainly one of whom seemed to be armed—smashed a jewelry stand and made off with a few of its contents.
Much less dramatic was the debut of two main additions to the already packed honest calendar, with Frieze Seoul and Paris + par Artwork Basel holding profitable first editions.
Change abounded within the management of those occasions too, with each Victoria Siddall and Marc Spiegler stepping down this 12 months as world administrators of Frieze and Artwork Basel, respectively. Whereas neither pointed to the pandemic as causes for leaving (each helmed their manufacturers for greater than a decade), their departures sign that sands are shifting. Spiegler, who’s succeeded by the previous Artwork Basel Americas director Noah Horowitz contemporary from a year-long stint at Sotheby’s, says that the talent set required of a good director is totally different and broader than it was earlier than.
Public sale home consolidation
Certainly, the rising pattern in the direction of blurred boundaries and business consolidation solely elevated this 12 months, with Sotheby’s launching a direct-from-artist studio major market gross sales platform. In the meantime, Bonhams continued to vacuum up regional public sale homes, and business galleries like David Zwirner and Perrotin strengthened their secondary market arms. On this context it’s no surprise that the unfounded rumours of LVMH’s Gagosian acquisition appeared extra inevitable than inconceivable.
In the meantime, buzzing artwork weeks in Seoul and Tokyo added additional business hypothesis as to which East Asian metropolis will take Hong Kong’s place because the area’s dominant artwork hub. Hong Kong’s place seems more and more weakened, particularly in gentle of a cooling public sale market imperilled by strict lockdown measures, each in Hong Kong and on the mainland.
Single-owner gross sales to the fore
Western public sale homes nonetheless reported bumper years—though some achieved this by way of a extra artistic definition of what constitutes artwork and luxurious items. These numbers had been additionally shored up by closely assured single-owner collections, most notably that of Microsoft founder Paul G. Allen, which made a record-breaking $1.6bn at Christie’s for undisclosed philanthropic causes.
Different distinguished collections supplied this 12 months included the second half of the acrimoniously divorced Macklowes, and people of the previous Whitney Museum chairman David Solinger and the Hong Kong businessman Joseph Hotung.
Particular person works additionally made data, with Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964) changing into the costliest from the twentieth century to promote at public sale, fetching $195m at Christie’s New York, though that was beneath its $200m estimate.
Salvator Mundi: 5 years on
On the fifth anniversary of the world document sale of the Saudi Salvator Mundi we regarded on the state of scholarly debate on the image, its provenance, and its whereabouts.
An finish to the bull market?
However these headline figures doubtless belie the actual scenario, and voices from inside the business more and more converse of an imminent finish to a bull market that appears impervious to pandemics, wars, spiking curiosity and inflation charges and different world tumult. This might definitely be felt at Artwork Basel in Miami Seaside, the place consumers appeared extra cautious than in years earlier.
Are we in NFT winter?
Miami additionally symbolised the dying knell of certainly one of 2021’s favorite buzzwords: NFTs. With commerce down an astonishing 98%, many former crypto evangelists are retreating from the blockchain-based artwork commerce, which in flip is threatening the very artist resale rights that had been touted as a key good thing about the NFT good contracts. In fact, die-hard followers will say the crash was to be anticipated and that 2023 will see the medium rise once more. And as this turbulent 12 months can attest, stranger issues have occurred.