5 Art Trends to Look Out for in the 2021 Art Market

The art world in 2021 is very different to the one we knew this time last year. Touched by the pandemic, the landscape of the art world has evolved to work with this. The major result has been the emergence of increasing virtual engagement to satisfy everyone’s artistic needs. Alongside this we have seen the growth in popularity of different artistic subjects and a more exploratory approach to artists and creativity. A boom in online exhibitions, virtual installations, an even greater appreciation for nature, amongst other things… Discover Artspers predictions for the five trends in the art market in 2021!

1. More Virtual Art Exhibitions

In 2020, museums and galleries quickly turned to online platforms to give people artistic experiences from the comfort of their homes. For better or worse, this is a trend here to stay in 2021! Already, major museums have made the transition to online in order to show high resolution art exhibitions. For example the Centre Pompidou with the exceptional Matisse exhibition. Just the month of January held a whole selection of exciting exhibitions. You can attend a host of online artistic experiences from your favorite museums and exhibition spaces. For a taster, Paris Palais de Tokyo with its exhibition Anticorps or Peggy Guggenheim Collection’s has an upcoming online exhibition Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity. Faced with the pandemic and the online evolution, all these exhibitions from across the globe are accessible to you without having to go anywhere.

View of « From Home », Online viewing room, kamel mennour, 2020 © Photo. Courtesy the artists and kamel mennour, Paris/London

2.  An Increase in 3D Motion Graphic Design

One of the art trends we have seen is the growing exploration of the virtual world. With this has come the growth of digital 3D motion graphic design. This is an innovative and exciting art form that has captured the attention of emerging artists across the globe. 3D motion graphics  have seen cities reimagined with huge, otherworldly, animated images. For many this has been inspired by the empty streets that various lockdowns have created. For example, Vadim Soloviov (@solovyewadim), who imagined Saint Petersburg with a fleet of giant stingrays flying in the sky. Or motion designer, ShaneF (@shanef3D), who filled corners of New York with playful 3D art such as floating hearts or packages racing through transparent pipes. With the rise of the online exhibition, these animated artworks could be perfect for stepping into the next, digital age of the art world.

Love Hearts in the streets of New York, by ShaneF
Love Hearts in the streets of New York, by ShaneF

3. A Renewed Appreciation for Nature

Nature, throughout history, has always been a rich and varied source of inspiration for artists. However it has taken on even greater meaning as people have turned to nature to seek stability. Artists have sought to reconnect with the outside world, creating inventive pieces that connect with people by offering them some much needed escapism. In fact, 2020 saw a $35 million dollar landscape by Hockney sold at Philips. This illustrates the priceless appreciation for scenes of nature! Whether it be sweeping hills or expansive seascapes, we think representations of the natural world are set to rise in 2021. 

This also relates to the increasing awareness surrounding the environment. Many artists are already engaged with the climate crisis and represent this struggle through their art. Take for example Olafur Eliasson, Shephard Fairey (OBEY) and Agnes Denes. Many artists are even adopting recycled materials to make extraordinary works of art! We think this is one of the art trends set to rise as the climate crisis becomes an increasingly pressing issue.

Nichols Canyon by David Hockney, Sold at Philips in 2020
Nichols Canyon by David Hockney, Sold at Philips in 2020

4. Increasing Popularity of Contemporary African Art

This is one of the art trends that we have already seen making its mark over the past few years and it is only set to increase. It was already an incredibly international market, attracting collectors from across the globe. This has meant that the switch online was not the main issue posed by the pandemic. Collectors already felt at ease making purchases via online platforms or over the phone. It is this flexibility combined with affordable prices and high quality works that will serve the African contemporary art market in 2021 and beyond. You can discover a whole selection of breathtaking African artists on Artsper.

Barthélémy Toguo, Celebration of Love, 2014, available on Artsper
Barthélémy Toguo, Celebration of Love, 2014, available on Artsper

5. A Continued Increase in Street Art

Street art has always been popular – this is nothing new. However, in light of the pandemic, there has been an undeniable increase in street art being used directly in response to the pandemic. It has been used as a way to directly thank, congratulate and encourage different parts of society across the world. Banksy, naturally, made his mark with his piece Game Changer. In this powerful mural, a child plays with a toy nurse dressed as a superhero whilst superman and batman are disregarded in a trash can behind him. Across the pond, LA artist Corie Mattie created a poignant series titled Hope Dealer, with one particular yellow mural warning: ‘Cancel Plans. Not Humanity’.

As ever, the subject of the pandemic was also combined with the political unrest in 2020 with street artists making poignant comments. For example in Hong Kong a tag appeared stating: ‘There can be no return to normal because normal was the problem in the first place.’ The examples are numerous and can be seen everywhere and will continue to be created as a coping mechanism for the uncertainty of today. 

Street Art by Corie Mattie found in LA
Street Art by Corie Mattie found in LA

With the constantly changing world we are facing today, it is hard to say where the art world is headed. However, it seems likely that the virtual world we experienced in 2020 is here to stay for a while. Also because of this, our desire to be outside in nature is only going to increase and artistic representations will reflect this. Who knows what’s to come in 2021 for certain, but these are our predictions!