We are delighted to be partnering with ArtTactic on this inaugural NextGen Artists’ report, adopting a different perspective and delving deeper into the contemporary art market to focus on the next generation of international artists under the age of 40.
The last fifteen years have seen an exponential growth in the market for contemporary art: turnover at Christie’s and Sotheby’s increased from USD 270 million in 2000 to USD 3.3 billion in 2017. Contemporary art has become the biggest selling auction category for both firms, accounting in total for 39% of their main sales categories: Old Masters, Impressionist and Modern, Contemporary and Chinese art.
However, the auction market is not always a good indicator for the state of the contemporary art market, as only a small number of contemporary artists enjoy a strong auction market presence. This is particularly the case for the younger, next generation of artists. This report attempts to shed new lights on this next generation of artists (aged 40 or below), and provide a better understanding of the factors that influence their career paths and choices.
The data structure and analysis have been built on a framework looking at the artists’ journey or trajectory in the context of the art market as an ecosystem, in which cultural and economic value is a largely a function of a process of endorsement by tastemakers within that ecosystem.
The 500 NextGen artists journeys covered in this report, were captured through a variety of event ‘filters’ predominantly in the period between March 2017 and March 2018. To capture and narrow down the list of artists, we have used both cultural and institutional criteria (museums, biennials, art prizes), as well as commercial (galleries, art fairs, auctions) data and filters, to try to give a fair representation of the current standing and reputation of these next generation artists.
However, although we have done our best to capture the ‘zeitgeist’ of the next generation of contemporary artists, we do realise that future reports will most likely need to adapt the filters for the changing market for contemporary artists, particularly with regards to the role of technology (the online art market and social media), and changes in the traditional artist-gallery agency model.
Below we summarise the key highlights from the report:
NEXTGEN ARTIST TRENDS
Top NextGen Artists – Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigeria), Camille Henrot (France), Jordan Wolfson (United States), Jonathas de Andrade (Brazil) and Alicja Kwade (Poland) head up the Top 500 NextGen artist ranking in 2018.
Top 100 NextGen artists dominated by male artists – Despite three out of the Top 5 artists being female. The findings from this study of Top 500 NextGen international artists show a gender ratio of 46% female and 54% male. The gender gap becomes wider when we look at Top 100 artists only, with 39% female and 61% male artists. For artists with a significant presence in the auction market (more than 25 lots sold at auction in their career so far) – the gender gap increased to 85% male and 15% female.
ARTIST HUBS – WHERE DO ARTISTS COME FROM AND WHERE ARE THEY BASED?
New York is the NextGen artists’ hub in the world, while Berlin is the preferred city in Europe – 24% of the Top 500 NextGen artists live and work in New York (37% of the Top 100 NextGen artists live in New York). Berlin is the second most important artists’ hub globally, and the preferred place for artists in Europe, chosen by 12% of the Top 500 artists. Los Angeles is the third most important artists’ hub, with 9.4% of the Top 500 artists working and living there, with London marginally behind, with 8.7% of the Top 500 artists having settled there.
ARTIST MIGRATION TRENDS
Moving abroad can be a crucial step in an artist’s career – 40% of the Top 500 artists moved from their country of birth to develop their artistic practice and career abroad.
The majority of European artists move to another European country – Artists born in Europe tend to be more likely to move and live in another country (53% of European artists in the Top 500). 68% of these relocating European artists moved to another European country.
The majority of American born artists live and work in the US – American artists, on the other hand, are much more likely to stay in the US; only 13% of the US born artists live and work outside the US.
The majority of artists from the Middle-East migrated to United States, whilst African artists choose Europe – The highest migration ratios can be found among Middle-Eastern artists in the Top 500, 75% moved away from their country of birth; 20% of these artists live in Europe and 33% in the United States. This is followed by 72% of African artists, who relocate, with 44% settling in Europe.
Higher education seems to be one of the most important reason as to why artists decide to relocate from their country of birth. 72% of artists studying abroad end up living and working in the country of their final degree.
TOP 500 NEXTGEN ARTISTS BY REGION OF ORIGIN AND CURRENTLY BASED
Region of Origin may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Region Based In totals at over 100% as artists can be based in multiple locations, all of which are counted.
GALLERY REPRESENTATION, MUSEUMS, AUCTIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
New York and London are the main gallery hubs for the next generation of artists – 32% of the Top 500 artists are represented by a gallery with a base in New York, with a further 22% of artists having a gallery based in London. In mainland Europe, 15% of artists are represented by a Berlin-based gallery, followed by 13% with a Paris gallery.
'Incubator galleries’ play an important role in an artist’s career development – 60% of the artists in the Top 500 are represented by younger galleries, which we have defined as an ‘incubator’ gallery1.
Important museums for the NextGen artists – Among the Top 500 artists, more than half of the artists (53%) have had group or solo show at one or several top tier museum institutions (such as MoMA, Tate, Whitney, SMAK, Guggenheim, MOCA, SFMOMA etc.) with 18% of the artists having had solo shows and 45% having had group shows at these prestigious venues.
Almost half (48%) of the artists in the Top 500 have an auction presence, whilst 74% of the artists in the Top 100 have had one or more art works come up for auction.
Social media – Among the Top 500 artists, 67% of these artists have Instagram accounts, although only 16% of the artists have 5,000 followers or more.