Global Art Trends© Tate Modern London

9 Trends That Are Taking The Global Art Scene By Storm

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Pooja Prabbhan Srijith

The ever-evolving world of art underwent a few drastic changes over the past couple of years. from new tech-based work like NFTs and crypto art making inroads into the industry, to the virtualisation of performing arts, we expect to see a few transitions raging in 2022. HELLO! tracks down a list of burgeoning trends in the global art scene that seem poised to get even bigger.

The Age of NFTs

While non-fungible tokens (NFTs) became mainstream in 2021, the popularity around digital assets is expected to only soar. Aside from offering artists the leeway to create and secure ownership of their pieces, NFT artwork are lucrative opportunities, to say the least, opening up new possibilities for artists and collectors alike. Case in point: ‘The Merge’ by digital artist Pak that went for US$91.8 million in 2021, becoming the most expensive NFT art to ever be sold.

Crypto Art to Only Get Bigger

With heightened awareness around NFTs and digital assets, crypto art has found takers by the hordes among mainstream artists due to its scarcity-based value. An innate connection towards the art piece, or for the sheer speculative thrill, there are several reasons that add to the lure of crypto art — its value placed-on-pixels to begin with — making it an invaluable asset that leads to record-breaking sales.

The Comeback of Figurative Paintings

While contemporary art enjoys widespread popularity, new trends in figurative art, like pop art and photorealism, as well as work by prominent artists like Lucien Freud and David Hockney, are making a steady comeback to the global art scene. A clear evidence of this revival can be traced to iconic figurative artist Alex Katz, who will be unveiling exhibits featuring some of his best showcases this year at the Guggenheim in New York and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, his first-ever retrospective in Spain.

Resurgence of Textile Art

With the relevance of sustainability climbing across hemispheres, textile art, too, has seen a renaissance in the world today. The ancient art is steadily making its way into the contemporary realm of creative expression as well as international exhibits. Think Gucci’s 2021 homeware collection, or brands like Nordstrom, Betsey Johnson, Lobo Mau, Zara, Topshop and Adidas, which have all been proponents of textile art. With upcycling of synthetic fibres as its hallmark, textile artwork throws open a myriad new avenues in the art market, with boundary-defying fluidity being another highlight of the medium.

Auctions with the Focus on Emerging Talent

Auction houses are back with turbocharged sales of contemporary art. However, a trend to watch out for is their transition to becoming a launchpad for fledgling artists and raising awareness around them and their new work. “While collectors are now able to educate themselves through a multitude of resources, auction houses provide an integral stream of knowledge,” said Kate Bryan, specialist and head of contemporary October evening sale at Phillips auction house.

Performance art on the Virtual Bandwagon

As physical shows fell by the wayside amid the coronavirus outbreak, there occurred a slow yet steady revolution of sorts over the past two years: the virtualisation of performance arts. With enhanced audio and video synchronisation being readied to facilitate the trend, the avenue of experiencing performance arts peaked as a trend, with online viewing rooms and virtual events paving the way forward.

It’s the Year of Neon

From the confines of galleries across the globe to home décor, the fervour around neon artwork has intensified, evident from the sleek neon wall art installations and light-based sculptures we see at the moment. CEO and founder of Drool Art, Alex Liepman, recently averred how the emergence of neon artwork could be one of the biggest highlights of 2022, with neon signage the best wall art element “to balance the look and feel of any room without being harsh to the vision”. Neon artwork offer space for digital art to explore pop culture, while toying with neon colour palettes.

Contemporary African Art

African art has found more takers today than ever before. The rise in prominence has a lot to do with amped up digital technology that now offers the leeway for contemporary African artists to showcase their works to a much wider audience. Largely inspired by socioeconomic challenges, political realities and rich traditions that the region has to offer, the African art aesthetic is one that mirrors self-composure, luminosity and clarity of form and detail, as well as balance and symmetry, in all its glory.

The Direct-to-consumer Boom

A concept that once appeared to be a distant reality, direct-to-consumer art sales are the next big thing, with ample scope for growth in the post-pandemic climate. It has led to the mushrooming of numerous forums, ushering in a new era, enabling artists to connect with buyers in a hassle-free, mediator- free model. In the absence of gallery representation, direct-to-consumer art sales and artist-focused fairs pave the way with unbridled potential for artists to monetise on their works sans commissions.

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s June 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!