art market experts make their predictions for 2022

If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that making predictions is a wild ride. But that didn’t stop us from asking various personalities in the art world to try such a race.

Several topics came up repeatedly: TVN (what a surprise), collaboration within the industry, concerns about carbon emissions and speculation on young artists. Added to this is the fact that the big auctions will continue to be orchestrated by increasingly complicated guarantees, as the market financializes (even more) and Asian buying continues to be a vital force.

But, like ArtTactic analyst Anders Petterson predicted, it will be the United States that will strengthen its grip this year. “The US art market has spearheaded the recovery, with more than half (51%) of Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips auctions generated via New York in 2021, up from 43% in 2020. This is driven by “pent-up demand, diversification of assets and a generational shift in the art market” as well as the transfer of artistic wealth to the United States, Petterson says, all factors that will only continue. in 2022.

We will respect a new seasonal tempo, that of the ebb and flow of the Covid

Nicola Vassell, New York gallery owner

As the Omicron variant spreads, there is also awareness that Covid-19 could become endemic, shaping our lives in perpetuity. New York gallery owner Nicola Vassell thinks that if the market will continue to prosper despite inflation, “we will respect a new seasonal tempo, that of the ebb and flow of the Covid. Activity will speed up when viral transmission is low and decrease when the reverse is true.

NFTs may not be affected by transmission rates, but it will be a more difficult race in 2022. Jason Bailey, Co-Founder of ClubNFT, predicts “a crash in the NFT market” but is not worried because “historically, NFTs are more fun and innovative in a bear market”. Guillaume Cerutti, CEO of Christie’s (quickly takes action with this Beeple sale last March), foresees “a continuous and deep crossing between the NFT community and the world of traditional art, widening and diversifying the market”. Marc Spiegler, Global Director of Art Basel, speaking from crypto-rich Miami Beach, agrees: “The NFT space will become more interesting, mostly conceptually rather than aesthetically. Don’t judge this book by its cover.

New ecosystem

Yuki Terase, the Hong Kong-based co-founder of the consultancy firm Art Intelligence Global, believes that NFTs “will revolutionize the way we consume, experience and share art, and this new ecosystem will be largely shaped and driven by new market players, heavily led by young Asian collectors.” Art lawyer Jon Sharples also sees a maturation of the NFT space with the validation of “artists moving from the world of ‘traditional’ art to NFTs, secured by the launch of new platforms by Gagosian and Hauser & Wirth “, he said. However, regulators have their sights set on cryptocurrencies and NFTs as well, and increased controls will inevitably dampen the frenzy.

All of this creates an increasingly polarized art world, divided between believers and NFT skeptics, speculators and regulars. Much of the NFT craze is rooted in speculation: players want to make money fast, they aren’t very concerned with long-term appreciation. The same, in analog form, is true with speculation about young painters up for auction, resulting in prices in excess of millions for (largely figurative) works under the age of 35. This will only increase in 2022, and with it the speed of pinball churn, as some names in demand last one or two auction seasons before being rejected for the next. “Why would this stop? Says a London-based gallery owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. “It’s too exciting. It’s addictive, like gambling, and it’s grooming; there is no other word for it. There are certain artists who do the trick – their work has to look good on a cell phone, it happens a lot less with sculpture and abstraction. Unfortunately, this will “leave a very sad trail of short careers”.

Digital and physical collide: a visitor to the Art Madrid 21 fair in May Photo credit: Samuel de Roman / Getty Images

Along with that in the primary market, the ‘buy one, give one free [to an institution]“The trend for the hottest artists will undoubtedly continue as long as the competition and the scarcity of the primary market continue. And the collections of some institutions will start (or continue) to reflect the tastes of the market.

Collaboration is the key

Collaboration has been a Covid buzzword – an admirable intention, but the elephant in the room is that hierarchy is a foundation of the market. This year we will see whether collaborative efforts such as the International Alliance of “Non-Hierarchical” Galleries (IGA, launched in 2021) can achieve their idealistic goals. As Joost Bosland, director of the Stevenson Gallery, said in October when announcing the launch of IGA: “I felt some frustration with how easily the lofty ideals of there are. years have gone down the drain as things get busier again. The IGA, he hopes, will not be “just another Zoom project” that comes to naught.

Thomas Dane, London-based dealer and founding member of the Gallery Climate Coalition, also commits to “continue to collaborate. Collaboration is so important in a world that seems so divided. He adds: “The last year has seen the art world come together to tackle climate issues. I really think this will continue to strengthen and we will see a greater sense of responsibility from salespeople and
public spheres.

Seung Taek-Lee Earth play at Frieze Sculpture in 2015 — climate change issues are now on the top of the minds of many as 2022 approaches Photo: Linda Nylind; courtesy of Linda Nylind / Frieze

Will Jarvis, co-founder of London gallery Sunday Painter, also foresees a “continued push towards more environmentally friendly practices” while Cerutti promises that Christie’s will deliver on its “commitment to sustainability, moving closer to the goal of net zero carbon by 2030 ”. (Cynics, however, will remember how quickly many jumped on the plane to auction in New York in November and Art Basel in Miami Beach in December …)

Jarvis adds that he believes the art world will become increasingly democratized, and that diversity and inclusiveness will continue to be an important theme. But the overlooked topic of accessibility needs to be added to this discussion: How many galleries and auction houses are fully wheelchair accessible, for example?

Many are in a philosophical mood. Emanuel Aguilar, owner of Patron Gallery in Chicago, explains that the last two years have been spent in reflection and “it is reflected in the way collectors and the industry evolve – what makes sense and what [art] worth the sweat, the blood and the tears that flow there will continue to occupy the center stage ”. Trends will always exist, “but for the first time in a long time I think the art world will focus on substance and intention more than just fashion, at least I hope”.

As for Aguilar’s 2022 resolutions, well, they seem to suit a lot of us: “See more ocean, eat more bratwurst sausages, walk into more cathedrals and museums, share a cocktail with more people. friends.”

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