Identifying recent art trends is tough enough – we can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. Everything around us is so different and madly off in all directions, but art trends emerge clearly upon retrospect over time with the comforting tilt-shift vision of art history. Though I can see trends in current art making, I accept the fact I cannot perceive some (if not most) of the important developments in contemporary work around me.
In a sense a collector is investing in a perceived future trend when he or she buys a work – an inherent hope that you are planting your flag into the tip of an iceberg. Rooted in the practice of the present, we attempt to interpret current art with an informed art history eye as well as an abstract projection of various departure points for this work, this artist.
So with the recent slew of art-in-the-last-ten-years reviews, this blog has decided to boldly scrutinize the last tens years in an attempt to divine the next ten years in contemporary art.
Being an artist who writes, I am perfectly allowed to attempt such leaps of bold lateral logic.
Top 10 art trends over the next ten years (they are all erringly connected):
10. Much of 2000-2009 was creating new media work that referred to itself as a something that was built with new technology. And why not? Artists typically work with the trailing edge of technology (when it becomes cheap and abundantly available) and this decade saw the cheap and abundantly available internet and computer technology become available to …. well, anyone with the time and determination to work with it. There was time to play with it and participate in its development – an opportunity for artists unseen since the invention of the printing press. What does this mean for 2010-2019? Working with new media will become more subtle, intuitive and embedded in the design of the environment, not as the environment itself. Think things appearing when interacted with, as opposed to seeing a gallery room full of wires, bulbs, speakers and computers. Such as….
9. social media : Speaking of working with technology for the sake of working with technology, social media has become a gold rush of sorts for the ambitious imagination. To demonstrate this, I put forward the question of
art trends over the next decade via twitter and tumblr and received an overwhelming affirmation of envisioning mass collaborations of artist and work via (drum roll) social media! Crowd-sourced art projects that are essentially artists working with the newest technology. I do agree with this to a large extent but it’s like arguing that artists will use the phone or mail to collaborate. I see more art about the destination rather than the vehicle. Think less social media based art projects involving thousands of people and more that 1000’s of people will support and promote individual artists via social media.
8. art salon (tribes) : Ok, so the super-rich clusters of collectors and art dealers have defined the last 20 years to most of us. Where they are located was everything i.e. New York, London, Paris. What they bought informed the rest of us what to aspire to buy and what to create. Things are turning upside down from this model as art collecting is hot among young professionals but for the first time in art history without a dominating influence by the cabals of aforementioned collectors, art dealers and location, location, location. The mob rules, and the shift to art collecting will continue into the local and by turn will launch some into international stardom without having ever had a show or sold a work. Communities that collect and support will promote the arts they invest in, and this means social functions and a fusion of music, entertainment and gallery space into a multi-purpose environment that hearkens back to the salon days of the 18th century. This community does not have to be physical, which brings us to ….
7. 20×200: I hate mechanical reproductions of paintings as much as anybody. However, when artists create digital work specifically for reproduction then count me in! Just keep the editions limited enough to stay on this side of “object” ok? Creating on online gallery and selling work there is nothing new, it’s just not that viable. But the 20×200 model in New York has captured venture capitalist attention as it is proving very viable and measurable. What was I saying before about the influence on art history shifting away from the dealer and collector to the masses? That’s right, you will see artists and trends rise to significant prominence based on what works on these new website models, and you’ll see dealers and collectors following the cultural mob instead of leading it. Art will be more popular over the next 10 years than ever before.
6. imperfectionism, earthy art and the unreproducible : counter-reactions to trends are very significant. It is easy enough to logically extend what is happening now, but not everyone will feel the same way. Enter ceramics, fibers and working with environment within a tenacious and well documented process. Trust in the natural object may define the next decade as much as distrust in the image defined the last. Mix environmental concerns, group participation and the need for some sort of performance work and there should be some really interesting crowd-sourced craft work happening on weekends near you. The old aesthetic guard will retreat here and prosper with a new generation of like-minded artists and supporters.
5. Shorter text, deeper images: A picture is worth a thousand spell-checks, and the nature of how we see art via social media will influence the writing to be short and catchy, and the image worth studying for a few seconds more. The mob does not like lengthy academic text or verbose art critics – they like brevity, credit for their intelligence and bloggers who present interesting art.
4. The web will be 90% video: A sobering thought. Imagine a million monkeys on a million typewriters and then replace the typewriters with video cameras. I can’t imagine the wonderful things that will happen, but certainly if art history progresses through a series of happy accidents then the current working philosophies of absurdism, randomness and the deeply personal (so personal it defies criticism and formal aesthetics) will continue as a billion people armed with cameras on mobile devices around the world go through their own personal art renaissance. Did I mention the mob rules?
3. Abstract Art: There will be a swing back to abstract work over the next ten years, with an emphasis on them as graphs / maps / charts of information by really good designers and illustrators.
2. Virtual Art Tours: Mobile devices, proximity marketing and text / voice tours of local galleries. Huge beyond belief, but brings back “location, location, location”.
And the number #1 art trend over the next ten years …
1. Corporate sponsorship of artist, galleries and art schools. The new currency is traffic and popularity – and that currency is cashed by it’s worth in marketing. Creative solutions to problems and visual literacy continue to grow as highly desirable skills and the talent in this area will represent companies via advertising. Not their art, exactly as the old model of the corporate art collection would dictate, but the co-branding of the art as it rises in popularity due to its media-worthiness. Some shallow, punch-line art to be sure but also deeply sustained and developed bodies of work. Don’t worry, the recession in 2021 will derail all this.
here’s some bold bonus materials / methods predictions as well:
2. electronic ink
3. memory materials (foam, wire)
5. virtual robots
6. identity sharing
7. immortality as performance
8. auto-creation technologies of personal music / design
9. mobile habitats
I am very aware that at this time we were supposed to have robot slaves doing menial work for us, flying cars and settlements on Mars. So who knows what will really happen but I am hoping this will be a very amusing post in ten years 😉
Happy new year everyone!