Great Art Trends That Are Coming Back

September 28, 2020

Things you didn't know where going to impact the Arts Trends

Posted in Inside Scoop by Ruth Millington on 14th January 2020

This is going to be a decade of change for the art world. People, including curators, writers,

collectors and the public, have begun to question traditional ways of showing, viewing and

thinking about art. New ways of looking at artworks, both online and in real life, are on the way

and there will be no way back from this radical shift. Here are 5 significant trends that will

determine the future of the art world for the 2020s.

1. MUSEUMS WILL CHANGE THEIR COLLECTIONS

The 2020s will see museums move towards a more inclusive presentation of art history, with a

focus on women artists, queer art and non-Western narratives. New York’s MoMA has just had

an explosive $450million rehang. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has embarked on an

ambitious renovation project of 10 galleries devoted to British art – to be opened in spring. And

Tate has committed to celebrating more women artists, with major solo exhibitions by Lynette

Yiadom-Boakye, Paula Rego, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Maria Bartuszová, Haegue Yang and

Zanele Muholi throughout 2020/21.

2. EXHIBITIONS WILL BE MORE IMMERSIVE, AND INSTAGRAMMABLE

A friend’s recent Instagram story showed her lying on a bed of pastel-coloured sprinkles. ‘Where

are you?’, I asked. ‘The opening of the Museum of Ice Cream in New York’, she replied. ‘All the

influencers are here!’. This new museum includes a sprinkle swimming pool, slide and lots of

pink. Museums’ marketing strategies are cleverly taking into account selfie-opportunities inside

exhibits. We will be seeing a lot more of this. Looking ahead, the V&A Museum’s Alice in

Wonderland show will be all over social media. So, too, will the biggest-ever exhibition of Yayoi

Kusama’s mirrors, polka dots and pumpkins, which starts its tour in Berlin this autumn.

3. MUSEUM MONEY WILL BE VETTED

Museums rely on money from philanthropists and private donors. However, last year’s Sackler

scandal raised an important question: should museums refuse dirty money? Protests from

visitors, artists, trustees and activists have put pressure on cultural organisations to reject

philanthropy from unethical sources. The RSC recently cut ties with BP, and the Tate with

Sackler. Going forward, museums will need to take steps to scrutinise their donors more closely.

They will need to establish an authoritative set of guidelines to ensure ethical philanthropy. They

will also need to effect more rigorous vetting procedures.

4. GALLERY APPS WILL GROW

Mobile phones are already accepted in the gallery. But the 2020s will see museums asking and

encouraging people to engage with them through dedicated apps. A new app, Smartify, allows

you to point your smartphone at an artwork and receive instant information on it. It’s already

partnered with the Louvre in Paris, New York’s Met Museum and London’s National Gallery.

More arts organisations will definitely follow. You can read my mixed thoughts on whether

gallery apps are a good idea here

5. VIRTUAL VIEWING AND SELLING WILL INCREASE

Art collectors will continue to spend time, and find artists they like, online. Over the next

decade, galleries will respond to this demand by increasing their online presence. You can expect

to see more online marketplaces, viewing rooms, virtual exhibitions and sales via social media. Dealers will have to engage in virtual selling to survive.

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