How contemporary art has become an auction staple

20 years of the “Silver World”

This is the great earthquake of the past two decades. According to the Artprice database, contemporary art, which represented only 2.9% of the market in 2000, now accounts for 15% of the global art market. Twenty years ago, 5,400 contemporary artists had fallen under the hammer. They were nearly 32,000 to have experienced the ordeal of fire in 2019, for an estimated turnover of 1.9 billion dollars (approximately 1.61 billion euros). Contemporary art is now used for the prestige of financiers and great captains of industry. It appeals to young fortunes, who got richer faster than their elders.

“This generation focuses on artists with whom it identifies and who do not require cultural background to be understood. , decrypts Adrien Meyer, director of private sales at Christie’s. For the past ten years, today’s art dealers competed for space, collectors dreamed of private museums to their glory and prices soared to the sky. In particular those of a small handful of artists such as the Englishman Damien Hirst, the Italian Maurizio Cattelan, the Japanese Takashi Murakami and even more the American Jeff Koons, whose steel rabbit takes the record of 91.1 million dollars in 2019.

The posthumous push of Basquiat, the first black artist to win huge prizes, combined with the reinterpretation of art history and the political movement Black Lives Matter, raised the ratings of other artists of color.

No designer, however, has known the meteoric progression of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died in 1988, whose prices have multiplied by 65 in twenty years, according to Artprice. Especially since its market has become international. It is a Japanese, Yusaku Maezawa, who paid 110.5 million dollars in 2017 to buy one of his works.

The posthumous push of Basquiat, the first black artist to win huge prizes, combined with the reinterpretation of art history and the political movement Black Lives Matter, raised the ratings of other artists of color. In 2018, a work by Kerry James Marshall exceeded $ 21 million at auction. Same frenzy around her younger daughter, Tschabalala Self, born in 1990, whose prices have jumped from $ 10,000 to nearly $ 500,000 in five years.

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If art readily plays with genres, parity has only very slowly gained the market. Only seven women appeared in the list of the hundred most valued artists established by Artprice. And when a woman is in her prime, there is always a man to steal the show. The record of 9.5 million pounds established by a work by the British Jenny Saville (born in 1970), in October 2018, was immediately eclipsed by the planetary buzz caused by the “self-destroyed” canvas of street artist Banksy, awarded for £ 1 million …

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