We are more positive about the coming year than our subject line might suggest, even if we do live in fraught times. We share the sentiments of Jerry Saltz who said when asked about 2017 and the future of galleries:
I love art galleries.
I love art dealers.
I want all galleries to be able to survive; even the crappy ones.
Here is our look at what is coming in the year ahead.
It will be a year of new realities – both through technology and metaphorically – in which we escape into post-truth spaces (already post-truth was the word of the year in 2016).
The first major art world event will be an amazing initiative: Condo Complex in London in which 15 spaces host 36 galleries from all over the world. Loosely organized by the young powerhouse gallery Carlos/Ishikawa it includes spaces which will for certain shape the dialog next year such as The Sunday Painter, Arcadia Missa and Project Native Informant. Also, there are relative newcomers: Chewday’s will host Max Mayer from Düsseldorf and Emalin gives their space over to Gregor Staiger from Zürich.
Again, soon all eyes will be on LA, including our crazy eye on Art Los Angeles Contemporary and the massive independent Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair in which more and more galleries are participating (even in a digital era we predict the return of artists' books). We have an exciting cooperation with Contemporary Art Daily, who recently moved there, which further emphasizes how important the city is becoming. One more reason for us to launch Los Angeles later this year.
Despite the art market “cooling” we expect to see epic, record-breaking hammer drops at the auctions. We think an Andy Warhol Dollar Sign painting should break all records as the USD is the strongest it has been. However, it isn’t the multimillion dollar works (less than 1% of all sales are over the $1 million mark) that are the lifeblood of the contemporary art world; it is the small sales that are the nerve-center. More and more of these acquisitions often of emerging art (average around $7,800) are happening online as that market grows significantly year after year. Although it didn’t happen all at once, the internet is changing the ($63 billion) art market. According to the TEFAF 2016 Report (by Hiscox), online sales jumped 24% last year, to $3.27 billion and at this rate will reach nearly $10 billion by 2020. Like the rest of the digital art world, more online art sales are happening on mobile instead of desktop – in fact, 40% of art visitor traffic was on smartphones and other mobile devices. Among millennials, 19% of collectors who made their first-ever art acquisition did it online. So there is no doubt that this growth of the online art world will continue and even more, so it is an absolute necessity to see art offline. We show you where to find good exhibitions.
Just as the art market embraces the digital revolution so does art production. Artists are using the latest technologies including a revived older medium of VR (just as rumors spread that Apple will release a VR headset). This is good news for some of the most watched artists including Jon Rafman, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Rachel Rossin. While at the same time other artists return to the most physical experiences and traditional materials like the tapestries of Ulrike Müller. And there will continue to be a focus of younger galleries on important older artists who have been forgotten.
Across the globe there will be many candidates for especially rich museum retrospectives, check Exhibitionary as often as you can, we name them all there. A partial list includes Wolfgang Tillmans at the Tate Modern London (his first show at this institution), Louise Lawler at MoMA New York, Marisa Merz at the Met Breuer New York, and Adrian Piper and Hanne Darboven at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (two artists we love). The Kerry James Marshall retrospective “Mastry” (intentionally misspelled), which is traveling to LA MoCA, is a comprehensive account of a contemporary master and will be a stand out among all others. Marshall is not a sign of the 'return' to figurative painting, but instead the beacon that painting never went away.
2017 is the once in a decade, when Documenta, Skulptur Projekte Münster, and the Venice Biennale will all happen in the same year. The theme of the Venice Biennale “Viva Arte Viva,” comes with the ever idealistic and optimistic words of director Christine Macel “In a world full of conflicts and jolts, in which humanism is being seriously jeopardized, art is the most precious part of the human being.” In these terms, we predict the German Pavilion will be one of the most talked about projects as artist Anne Imhof mounts another epic opera. Imhof challenges us to face all sides of who we are. There are many detractors, but we stand among those who were in awe since the very first performance.
Curatorial director Adam Szymczyk – who is known for his political engagement – has split Documenta between Kassel and Athens for the first time. He also wants to break new ground by having 50% of the exhibiting artists be women. There will for sure be more artist-run projects mounted in Athens riding the wave of Documenta. Szymczyk’s provocative publications “South as a State of Mind” have already made a strong statement by not including the term “technology” anywhere in the writings about the quinquennial.
Although it is not about identity-politics (there is a strong critique by artists outside the hegemonic paradigm against this term), 2017 will most certainly be a landmark year for women, minorities, post-gender artists of all kinds – which we think is long overdue. One can almost say that a slow down in the market helped make this possible because finally museums and galleries can take risks to show work outside the hyper-inflated white western male canon. The biennials are already slated to highlight urgent political topics often through collective action. Many major 2017 events reflect the trouble of the times: Elmgreen and Dragset’s Istanbul Biennale titled “A Good Neighbor,” “A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism” at the Brooklyn Museum, and the Getty supported massive “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” will be a hybrid cross-disciplinary event in Los Angeles celebrating the art of Latin America. Another emphasis on this region is that the first of the Art Basel Cities will be in Buenos Aires. Finally, the 78th Whitney Biennial co-curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks (coinciding with the highly charged presidency of Donald Trump) is an indication that 2017 will be a year for a radical older generation (Jo Baer, Henry Taylor, Pope. L a.k.a. William Pope. L and Lyle Ashton Harris) to inspire a radical younger generation (GCC, Samara Golden, Occupy Museums, Postcommodity and Puppies Puppies).
Lastly, we hope 2017 is a revolutionary year in honor of the 100th anniversary of the readymade. We are inspired by the current General Idea retrospective in the super hot Mexico City, that art should be like an “image virus,” that spreads its ideas subconsciously and subliminally into the collective conscious to give hope and activate change.
– Justin Polera