Trends in the Art World


How do you spot a trend in the contemporary art world? Do you look to what is in this year’s Whitney Biennial, whose booth sold out at Art Basel, do the magazines tell you, do art advisors lead your way or do you trust your own instincts? While there are numerous people and lists that can tell you the trends, most are of course, subjective. However, these lists or notions can provide a composite image of the contemporary art world at large. I decided to look at the numerous lists published at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 to see if there was crossover with the lists and what this could tell us about the years to come.

One thread that has continued into 2010 is how online media has taken center stage. Even the Venice Biennale broke new ground by inaugurating the Internet Pavilion this year which included Aids 3D (Daniel Keller and Nik Kosmas) whose work was also included in “Younger than Jesus” at the New Museum. While Aids 3D use the web to produce work and potentially bring it to a larger audience there is something very different about viewing a work in person as opposed to mediated by the computer.

Performa, curated by Rosalee Goldberg followed through with her announcement that “There is no such thing as an intellectual or artistic recession.” The performance biennial as many call it, took New York by storm with 150 artists descending on the city. The ephemeral performances seemed to make their mark as even this past week, I still hear people talking about it. I envision a continued interest in performance in 2010 in both museums and commercial galleries.

A few other trends that I believe will persist are: The move from Text to Abstraction, instruction works that have little end result and Salons or galleries in apartments. A few notable East Coast spaces are: Sarah Gavlak’s apartment, Three’s Company and Second Floor in Brooklyn. Notable West Coasters are: Partisan Gallery and 2nd floor projects. Abstraction is another word that seems to grace the webpages and lists of trends for 2010. Text seemed to take over 2009 and as a backlash to this some see both painting and multimedia work moving into a wordless direction.

Further observations for upcoming trends? Art that starts with the earth – raw materials like ceramics, fibers or working with the environment will have resurgence. I hope to also see more installation/site specific work, long-term projects, large-scale painting and work that has a relationship to objects and design.

Images courtesy of the Aids 3D Project

About The Author

Jessica Silverman is the owner and director of Silverman Gallery, which was founded in 2006. Gallery is located at 804 Sutter Street in Downtown San Francisco and represents emerging and established San Francisco and International artists. The artist’s and exhibition programs have garnered national press and recognition.

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