Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 Art Predictions


Ellsworth Kelly

It’s the final week of 2015. Thank gawd. So ready for the New Year to begin. 2015 wasn’t bad at all, things in the art world seemed to tilt back and although bubbles didn’t pop, there felt like a sense of equilibrium. It’s still unpleasant in many ways, all that money making everything funny and all but as a whole it was a relief from the years before. What will 2016 bring for the art world? Who knows for sure but below are some of my predictions.


Feminism becomes cache – Oh the women and art conundrum. It’s fraught, it stinks, it is everlasting but I predict this year that the “F” word and all its wrappings will become the legitimizing flavor of the year. This will manifest in exhibitions that pointedly refer and focus on this in both content and artists shown. It will also be the standard which institutions measure their progressive authority. These things in themselves may be wrapped up in tokenism and false intentions but hopefully it will do some lasting good.

Garbage is in – Trash art, sloppy art, dirt art, we’ve been seeing it a lot already but it will be even more plentiful this coming year. It’s not about the eco-system or some other residency applicable write up, rather it is about the pathetic-ness of an object, the limpid lack of necessity and the humor, charm and malaise that can be evoked by that.

Everyone you know will be successful – The older one gets and the longer one stays in the art industry the easier it is to ascend. The art world is strong and will remain thus until something truly calamitous happens as it is linked inextricably with the one percenters of the world and unless they topple (which they won’t) this art thing will be fine. This means that there is a ton of money, ton of opportunity and a ton of ways you and yours can thrive. Are their rules to playing the game correctly so you can cash in? Yes. If you are making the cash, getting the promotion and being profiled then you are doing it right. If you’re not, then you are either an idealist or bitter. The first is commendable; the second off-putting but both are tragic in their own ways.

Lower East Side redundancy – This saturated neighborhood has to lose some weight and it will this year. Not in the amount of galleries, openings, and new things taking up one former shoe box store or another but in the influence it has. It’s like looking at a menu with too many options. Everything looses it flavor. Instead, there will be a few standouts that will be the must sees while the others are pit stops for a free beer before dinner.

PR town – Everyone seems to need a PR agent these days and it’s grossing me out but hey, nothing any of us can do about it. The professionalization of art branding is a big bucks churn. Those that have the money spend it to dominate. Those that want the money feel an anxious ticking making them feel they need it. It’s silly and I think pretty useless but it’s the nature of the beast now. Coca-cola does it, movie stars do it, politicians do it, so why shouldn’t the art world? While doing it though, understand that all that press is becoming befuddled and dull. Like I’ve always said, if there’s a piece about it in The New York Times Magazine then it’s probably, definitely, already over.

Artists from out of nowhere – Every year an art star pops up that seems to have come out of thin air. Lately it has been people from “third world” countries, the former Eastern Bloc or older, almost about to die women that have been there the whole time and someone finally took time to notice. This year will most likely cull from this pool as well but I also think there might be a shift, something more attached to math and science perhaps.

Russia – Russia is going to make itself felt in the coming art year. I don’t know in what way but I can just feel it. It’s not just about all that oligarchical money, but about art and artists. Not sure what it will be like but it’s exciting to think about.

Art Scandals revealed – Can someone, anyone, everyone make a site where it has all the gross things men in power do in the art world? This is more of a wish then a prediction but ya, that would be a fabulous thing and you could probably make a lot of money somehow from it.

Art Malaise – I have it and I think a lot of people have it too. Art – all of it: gallery shows, museum shows, art fairs, curating, art books, art talks, art parties, art art art – all of it seems to be so obvious and dull at the moment. I think sadly this will carry on through the new year but hopefully there will be (I’m sure there will be) moments that tingle the brain and make you remember why you love art in the first place. But I think sadly it will be a slow, annoying, familiar art vista that we have to maybe ride out until it is somehow punctured.

No more cartoons – Art, especially painting, that incorporates cartoon like things has been very successful of late and although that’s an a-ok trend it’s been a bit done to death this past year and hopefully we all get a respite from it. Those that are good will last. Those that are bandwagon jumpers will get kicked to the curb.

Flowers – You can never go wrong with flowers in art.