What’s in Store for the Art World of 2022?

· Art Market

The new year is the perfect occasion to prepare for what lies ahead. At Artsper, we’re doing just that. We always have our partner’s best interests in mind. Because of this, a group of our specialists has curated a list of our expectations for the 2022 art world, to guide you through your upcoming decisions and investments. 

What's in store for 2022? 

Before looking forward, it’s important to look back, to touch upon the art world’s impact on 2021. After the art world was hit by the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, it’s safe to say that 2021 was the year for a powerful comeback. 

According to Statista, in 2020 the art market took a massive dip, with an approximate value of $50 billion, an overall downfall of nearly $14 billion from the year before. Although the data is not finalized, 2021 was a successful year for the art world, soaring beyond a 2014 market high, capping a total of roughly $68 billion. The sweeping success of 2021 made up for the drastic losses of 2020 but what will be in store for the art world in 2022?

Will art fairs continue as planned?

FIAC © Getty Images

Although the evolving conditions of Covid-19 have left a constant cloud over the future of art fairs, 2021 has provided a glimmer of hope as to what is possible even during difficult times within the art world. Art fairs are a great example of how large events are conceivable, as long as they are paired with efficient organization systems and safety protocols. Similar to museums, art fairs navigated the ongoing health crisis through the implementation of mandatory reservation times upon entry.

Ultimately, the future of art fairs in 2022 depends on the possibility of lockdowns and changing government mandates. Like in the winter of 2021, art fairs around the world are beginning to postpone or cancel their events. The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) has already announced its decision to reschedule its spring fair. At the same time, other European fairs are moving forward as planned. In the long run, as public health conditions change, so will this year’s art fair agenda.

Another year of outdoor exhibitions?

Yayoi Kusama, Dancing Pumpkin, 2020 on display at the New York Botanical Gardens, 2021. Image Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner on New York Botanical Gardens. 

Outdoor events in the art world have always existed. But over the last two years, there has been a rapid increase in outdoor expositions as an alternative method to showcase exhibitions in the art world. When weather permits, this is an approach that faces fewer obstacles than a typical in-door event. However, like art fairs, even plein air expositions experienced challenges due to the evolving health crisis. This resulted in the cancellation of several outdoor events throughout the art world.

In 2022, outdoor events face similar challenges as they have over the past two years. Perhaps 2022 will be the year where plein air expositions continue to grow in popularity without difficulties as a result of the pandemic. 

Galleries develop a strong virtual presence

Danysz Gallery, Paris, France

For many galleries, 2021 proved to be a challenging but successful year in the art world. Gallerists feared lockdowns and developing mandates regarding the health crisis would detrimentally affect their businesses. To their surprise, numerous galleries persevered, cultivating one of their most profitable years to date in the art world.

Looking ahead, it’s crucial to analyze the key factors at play. What sets a successful gallery apart from the rest in 2022? It boils down to a question of visibility. Galleries that maintain an interactive online presence will see a positive impact. This is essential in developing and advancing relationships with art buyers and collectors. Social media and digital tools provide and cultivate an online presence and following. The expansive digital world tears down walls, allowing networks to become universal. Ultimately, however, the pandemic continues to unfold, meaning marketing strategies will need to be adapted to reflect the ever-changing times. 

 Emerging collectors & artists

Fang Kaixuan, Cheveux d'encre photo, 2012, available on Artsper

A new generation of art collectors is rising in the ranks of the art world and their fresh perspective on what is valuable is leaving an exciting impact on the market. Young art collectors are prioritizing and placing special emphasis on emerging artists. As a result of this, up-and-coming artists are finding themselves in the big leagues, selling their artworks beyond a $1 million threshold (source: Barrons). 

Young collectors in the art world are changing the collecting universe for the better. They are the very ones driving sales and trends, encouraging traditional players to consider supporting artists who historically haven’t had a seat at the table. This could be an exciting start to a more inclusive art world

Auction houses continue to explore new mediums

CryptoPunks NFT sells for $17 million in auction © Christie’s, Image Courtesy of TechCrunch 

Auction houses are considered one of the most pertinent players in the art world in terms of defining trends and setting market records. In 2021, star auction houses throughout the art world experienced a tremendously successful year in sales. The total annual earnings from both Sotheby’s and Christie’s were more than $7 billion each. However, it was Philips that saw an astronomical increase in sales in comparison to previous years, bringing in more than $1 billion (source: Statista). 

In comparison to other facets of the art world, the auction industry faces a different set of challenges in terms of navigating the changing waters of Covid-19. Unlike art fairs, outdoor and indoor exhibitions, museums, and galleries, auction houses do not rely entirely on the physical presence of their bidders to achieve record-breaking sales. However, it is essential to understand that auction houses are evidently impacted by the health of the worldwide economy. But as demonstrated in 2021, the auction sector continues to score even during difficult times. 

So what lies ahead? As various mediums continue to flourish across the art world, the auction industry will continue to prevail, whether or not their clients attend the sale in person, or virtually. 

Digital artworks in full expansion

Beeple, Everydays: the first 5000 days, © Christie’s   

2021 was the dazzling year of NFTs. For the moment, the NFT market doesn’t have a definitive value. However, it is certain that over the last 12 months, the digital art market produced more than $40 billion (source: Bloomberg Businessweek). That’s quite the successful entrance into the art world. 

As the art world continues to tread through adapting health regulations, the digital world has remained a constantly burgeoning force. The industry doesn’t rely on changing health measures and government regulations to organize itself because it is entirely online. The entire process finds its home in a digital universe. It would only make sense that during a period in which many people worked, studied, and spent much of their time from home, the digital art community would make their presence known in the art world. 

Digital artist, Beeple, changed the course of art, selling the first purely digital artwork at a major art house in March of 2021 for $69 million. This was only the beginning. Just this past December, Beeple’s record for the most expensive digital artwork was broken after the sale of The Merge by Pak was sold for $91 million on Nifty Gate.  If the last year is a precursor to what is to come, it’s pretty safe to say that NFTs and the digital art sphere will continue to break records over the next year. 

A world of online purchases

Image Courtesy of Fifty & Me Magazine

Although many people had already relied upon shopping online in their daily lives,  the pandemic forced the rest of the world to catch up to the wonders of online shopping. Once the masses became fully comfortable using online platforms to find and buy essential purchases, significant purchases and investments eventually followed suit. 

After nearly two years of growing more and more accustomed to the concept of shopping online, there is a new generation of online buyers and investors who are turning to online marketplaces, such as Artsper, to begin or expand upon their collections. This is why it is absolutely necessary to be as visible as possible online because it is a rapidly expanding channel within the art world. 

In conclusion

So long as the year ahead rides off the coattails of 2021, then 2022 will be a great year in the art world. Even as health regulations change across the world, one constant factor remains: you have the ability to succeed even if you’re working from a distance. This has been proven time and time again by galleries and auctions that have integrated impactful marketing strategies and a strong online presence into top company priorities. 

At Artsper, we believe that if you utilize the best online tools within the art world, you will see successful results. We are here to increase the visibility of your galleries and artists for the best and most profitable outcome in 2022.




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