Happy New Year for …

TVN

NFTs reached $ 3.5 billion in sales this year (according to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2021), and the boom seems to be lasting for the moment: Beeple’s A HUMAN, a physical / NFT hybrid sold for $ 28,985,000 at Christie’s in November. Whether NFTs are good for the art world is another question: women made up only 16% of that $ 3.5 billion, technology is bad for the environment and as an art they make generally lacking.

Triumphal arch

The emblem of Paris has dressed in a glam silvery blue and transformed into a new type of must-see site for tourists and Parisians for a fortnight in September and October, thanks (posthumously) to Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Six million people saw the The Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, the duo’s latest textile creation.

Jasper john

The nonagenarian artist opened a career-winning retrospective, unprecedented in not one but two museums at once – the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art – to an enthusiastic reception (although our reviewer thought that it was a bit boring).

JR

He divides critical opinion but the French optical illusion artist has been in high demand, with works in situ at the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, the Frick Madison in New York (for the Met Gala) and two in Italy, plus a big show at the Saatchi Gallery in London. He competes with Yayoi Kusama for the title of the most Instagrammable artist in the world.

Seoul

The South Korean capital is becoming the preferred destination for the international art world in East Asia. Frieze has announced a new fair and many galleries, such as König Galerie, Thaddaeus Ropac and Gladstone Gallery, are opening and expanding there. But how good is it for the local Seoul fair, KIAF Art Seoul?

Painting

The painting has exploded this year in both museum exhibits, such as the Hayward Gallery Mix things up: paint today, and at fairs and auction houses, as always. Figurative painters, especially British artists, are gaining particular attention, and a market trend seems to have finally overtaken white men: Flora Yukhnovich, Issy Wood and Jadé Fadojutimi are among the many painters whose auction results have jumped well. beyond their gallery prices. .

Sneakers

After the great summer show at the Design Museum in London and steadily rising auction prices, the sneakers reached stunning new levels of desirability in 2021, with the sale by Sotheby’s in October of a pair of Michael’s Nike Air Ships. Jordan for a record $ 1.5 million in Las Vegas.

Bad year for …

Young art fraudsters

Angela Gulbenkian and Andy Valmorbida have pleaded guilty to fraud in trials in London and Jersey while Inigo Philbrick has pleaded guilty to fraud after being indicted in 2020.

OVR

Do you remember the new post-pandemic “phygital” reality of the art market? Online Viewing Rooms (OVRs) were the new digital frontier before everyone realized how boring they were and reverted to physical and new business.

Hong Kong

A renewed crackdown on artists, filmmakers and creatives has raised more concerns that the art world coexists with ongoing human rights violations in Hong Kong and China. It was telling to see the director of the M + museum forced to reconsider his comments about the institution’s “artistic freedom” as the museum removed Ai Weiwei’s works from its website ahead of its grand opening.

English museum

The museum’s defense of its possession of the Parthenon Marbles weakened as it could not show them for a full year due to leaking roofs. As other nations, and even a college in Cambridge, finally took action to return the looted Benin bronzes, the British Museum seemed disconnected. The appointment of George Osborne, the former British Chancellor, as its trustee chair has been greeted with dismay.

Cuba

Things are going from bad to worse for Cuban cultural figures, with artists and writers locked in for months. Artist and activist Tania Bruguera called on the art world to boycott the Havana Biennale on November 14: it is “immoral”, she argued, to go to Cuba to “party and celebrate. mojitos in a fun bubble ”amid rights violations.

British soft power

Faced with notions of a post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’, the British Council has been forced to dramatically cut operations in 20 countries as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Artist Jeremy Deller – paraphrasing Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, on crime – commented that Boris Johnson’s government is “hard on art, hard on the causes of art”.

Steel monoliths

At the end of 2020, brilliant sculptures evoking the Stanley Kubrick monolith 2001: A Space Odyssey were popping up around the world, sparking dizzying, pandemic-laden theories about minimalist John McCracken’s lost masterpieces and even alien invasions. Dozens appeared in December 2020, but Wikipedia suggests that only a handful have appeared this year, the last in Kentucky in May. If aliens left us a message, it didn’t get through.