The art world has had an interesting year due to the many stories and developments coming out of it. Stories like women dominating the world of art by their work being showcased in numerous exhibits, critics not being impressed with the use of some artists’ work, and new artists receiving numerous achievements all had us paying attention.
So, which stories and events had the most impact and caused the most upheaval in art?
How Art Thrived In 2023
In the challenging landscape of 2023, the art world demonstrated remarkable resilience, thriving in the face of adversity. Navigating uncertainties, artists and enthusiasts embraced strategies pivotal to the flourishing artistic landscape.
Firstly, the integration of technology played a crucial role. Leveraging digital platforms for virtual exhibitions, online galleries, and interactive experiences empowered artists to extend their reach globally, transcending physical limitations.
Cultivating a sense of community emerged as another key strategy. Artists sought connections within the art community through virtual meet-ups, online forums, and collaborative projects. This provided emotional support and created opportunities for shared resources and mutual growth.
Diversifying artistic practices proved to be a practical approach to adaptability. Exploring hybrid forms of expression, incorporating digital tools, or experimenting with unconventional mediums allowed artists to remain relevant and innovative, ensuring their work resonated with evolving audiences.
Continuous learning stood out as a cornerstone of resilience. Staying informed about industry trends, participating in workshops, and seeking mentorship opportunities contributed to the ongoing growth of artists. This commitment to lifelong learning equipped individuals with the skills needed to navigate challenges and stay at the forefront of artistic innovation.
Artificial Intelligence Causes Rifts in the Art World
There is so much to be said about artificial intelligence, from how it is allegedly plagiarising art to whether it creates real art. There are also concerns about whether the technology could end up replacing artists because it is faster and as it improves.
In a prediction at the end of 2022, Trevor Paglen, himself a popular artist, said tools like Stable Diffusion, ChatGPT and other generative technologies would cause such a shift in the way we view art creation that the developments in the last century would pale in comparison.
While that might have seemed like hyperbole when he said it, it has become true. There are numerous contests and exhibits where AI art has emerged as the most popular option and has even won awards.
Creators like Refik Anadol have continued to surprise people by showing them how capable technology is at generating art. Teamlab Planets TOKYO, on the other hand, continues to work the world with its digital art.
Some complain that what they create and display using technology cannot be considered real art. Why? Because people cannot own it. They argue it is pieces of code that disappear once the computers turn off, igniting the question of what constitutes art and whether only humans are capable of creating art.
However, those who support this argue that we have been using technology and different online tools to help with different tasks and this is no different. An example is being able to do PDF to Word conversions with SmallPDF’s document updater. If we can use such tools for professional and personal tasks, why can’t artists use AI and other available tools to create art?
Despite all the arguments and disagreements, artists are using generated art to win contests. Boris Eldagsen famously won at the Sony World Photography Awards using an image he generated using DALL-E 2. Artists are already creating exhibits that aim to show artists AI and related technologies cannot replace them, but that is doing little to dispel their fears.
China Losing Its Footing in the Art World
China has always had a prominent place in the world’s art stage, typically accounting for about 20% of global art sales. However, it only accounted for 17% of global sales in 2022, making some wonder if China is still a significant player in this area. It is easy to point out that the country is still recovering from strict lockdown mandates necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but other forces might be at play.
Signs that things might get even more challenging are already emerging, with auctions of prominent works of art failing to meet their goals or bring in the expected returns. This has already happened in Hong Kong, but other countries in the region are gaining traction.
For example, the Tokyo Gendai fair received support and tax exemptions from the government. These actions led to more people visiting to see the featured artist’s work, showing that people are still interested in art from the region.
Competition from other countries in the region could be leading to China’s struggles. Singapore’s Art Weekend and Art Mumbai, a new art fair in India, are both putting pressure on China and might be the reason its share of global art sales is falling.
Voices From Underrepresented Communities
The art world witnessed a significant push towards celebrating diversity by elevating voices from underrepresented communities. This shift is a fundamental reconfiguration of artistic narratives, embracing a more inclusive and nuanced perspective. To truly appreciate and engage with this evolution, individuals can actively seek out and support artists who bring unique experiences to the forefront.
Firstly, cultivating awareness is paramount. Take the initiative to explore platforms and galleries that specifically spotlight artists from underrepresented communities. These spaces provide a crucial platform for artists to share their stories authentically. Attend local exhibitions, virtual showcases, or community events that champion diversity in artistic expression.
Moreover, fostering dialogue is instrumental in acknowledging and celebrating diverse perspectives. Engaging in conversations with artists, attending panel discussions, and participating in workshops dedicated to inclusivity fosters a deeper understanding of the challenges faced and triumphs achieved by artists from underrepresented backgrounds.
Financial support is equally vital. Investing in the work of artists from diverse communities empowers them and contributes to the broader conversation within the art world. Purchase artworks, attend fundraisers, or support crowdfunding initiatives that champion the creations of underrepresented artists. In embracing and championing diversity within the art world, individuals become active contributors to a more inclusive and representative cultural landscape.
NFTs are All But Dead
NFT art was all the rage in 2022, with pieces going for tens of millions of Pounds. There was a lot of hype about NFT art changing art forever. However, the underlying technology was hijacked by selfish people, and this led to people losing faith in NFT art.
The fall in the value of cryptocurrencies that people used to buy and sell NFTs also caused significant changes to the market, with their value falling too and causing them to have such low value that many people stopped desiring them as valuable stores of wealth.
There is so little talk of NFT art now that those who did not know about it in the last two years might think it never existed. With all its potential, the collapse of NFT art is one of the biggest disappointments in the last year and a half.
The world of art has had an interesting year. Markets have changed, some types of art have all but disappeared, countries that dominated global sales are unable to anymore, and AI art is causing significant worry among artists. Perhaps these happenings can inform us what to expect in the art world in the coming years and give enthusiasts an idea of what to keep an eye on.