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date: 23 August 2019

The art market in the 21st centurylocked

  • Natasha Degen


While the art market in the 21st century is small relative to other creative industries—and negligible in comparison to financial markets—it is bigger than ever before in terms of its geographical scope, consumer base, and influence on culture at large. Since the turn of the millennium it has expanded dramatically, even in the face of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. From 2000 to 2007 the size of the art market grew nearly threefold. After a brief contraction of 33% in 2009, the market recovered and achieved a historic peak of $68.2 billion in 2014, despite having since cooled (in 2017, sales totaled $63.7 billion; McAndrew 2018). Boosted by the rise of China and increasing wealth inequality, the art market has been reshaped by trends in the broader economy: globalization, privatization, and financialization. As the market adjusts to these new conditions, it has entered a transitional phase, with its business models evolving and its reach widening....

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