10 Predictions for How the Art World Will Be Transformed in 2016

See what's in our crystal ball.

Miley Cyrus.
Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

1. More celebrity artists:
The major-star-cum-marginally-talented-visual-artist (see: James Franco, Shia LaBeouf, Kim Gordon) thing has been trending for a while, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

2. More celebrity collectors:
Those who can’t do, collect. As do those privileged few among us with serious cash flow.

3. Art fairs are everywhere:
These days, it seems practically every major, moneyed city in America has an art fair (think: Seattle, San Francisco, the Hamptons), but there are some notable exceptions we wouldn’t be surprised to see conquered in the coming year. Art Boston, anyone?

4. The Chelsea exodus continues:
Trendy New York neighborhoods can only stay so hot for so long, and it feels like Chelsea may have finally peaked. Rent is sky-high, and there’s now a Starbucks on 26th Street. Smart dealers opening up outposts downtown and in Brooklyn, or leaving altogether.

5. …As the Los Angeles art scene expands: 
Los Angeles has been heralded as a haven for artists and a burgeoning scene for gallerists and collectors alike. With the opening of the Broad Museum as well as offshoots of beloved New York galleries Maccarone and Venus Over Los Angeles, LA seems poised to continue to develop its art presence, even (or perhaps especially) amidst all the Hollywood hullabaloo.

Street artist Hanksy's New York mural depicting Donald Trump. Photo via Instagram.

Street artist Hanksy’s New York mural depicting Donald Trump.
Photo via Instagram.

6. Art gets more political:
Artists have always expressed political opinions through their work, but with what’s sure to be a hotly-contested election in 2016, we’d be shocked not to see more people using visual art to articulate their (probably mostly left-leaning) views.

7. Security ramps up:
2015 was a year punctuated by public tragedies: terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and that strange Art Basel X-Acto knife attack. Museums like the Museum of Fine Arts Boston are already putting in place increased security precautions (a move that is currently being protested by security staff), and we wouldn’t be surprised to see other institutions follow suit.

8. …As Cuba heats up:
Now that Americans can travel to Cuba legally, there’s a renewed interest from collectors in Cuban art and artists—a fact that was particularly evident at this year’s Art Basel in Miami Beach, where several galleries, including Galerie Lelong and Frederic Snitzer Gallery touted works by Cuban artists.

Larry Gagosian. Image: ©Patrick McMullan. David Crotty/PatrickMcMullan

Larry Gagosian.
©Patrick McMullan. David Crotty/PatrickMcMullan

9. Gagosian’s empire continues to flourish: 
Larry Gagosian now owns 15 galleries around the world, and he seems incapable of going very long without opening a new one. Last we heard, he was sniffing around West Hollywood, which, given #5 seems right on the money. Given that the man’s a veritable case study for how to make it in the art world, we’re not surprised.

10. The bubble won’t burst: 
Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a lot of complex, very different answers to if, and when, the bubble burst or won’t. But one thing seems likely: on the heels of another record-breaking auction season, it’s not ready to pop just yet.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics