Top 10 Artistic Moments of 2021

Camila Jaber, winner of the competition #CreateCOP26, 2021
Camila Jaber, winner of the competition #CreateCOP26, 2021

The year 2021 was a moment rich in emotions and artistic upheaval. With a difficult beginning, following the closures of museums and other security restrictions, the art world was able to recover! The art market continues to innovate and the artists keep on surprising us. So don’t wait any longer and discover the artistic highlights of the past 12 months with us…

1. Museum reopenings

Galerie du temps, 2021
Galerie du temps, 2021

It’s hard to believe that a year ago all museums and cultural centers were closed to the public! Fortunately to the joy of all art lovers, 2021 marks the return of artistic events and exhibitions. Indeed, after months of closure, museums welcome back their beloved public!

2. Beeple’s NFT sold for a record $69 million

Everydays: the First 5 000 Days, Deeple, 2021
Artistic moment
Deeple, Everydays: the First 5 000 Days, 2021

This past March, the art world was revolutionized with the sale of the famous crypto-artist Beeple’s digital work. NFTs – the term for which first appeared in 2017, stand for Non-Fungible Tokens – allow a single owner to hold the original version of a digital artwork. With this record-breaking sale, NFTs are shaking up the art market forever!

3. The Arc de Triomphe wrapped

Christo et Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped, 2021
Christo et Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped, 2021

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s monumental project to wrap the famous monument on the Place de l’Étoile was a worldwide success. In two weeks, this installation made with more than 25,000 m2 of fabric attracted more than 800,000 visitors. Once again, and even after their death, the mythical duo continues to impress!

4. Artists mobilized for COP26

Cornelia Parker, Hurry Up It's Time, 2021 © Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto AFP
Cornelia Parker, Hurry Up It’s Time, 2021 © Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto AFP

In the context of the Glasgow Conference on Climate Change (COP26), many artists have used their talent to raise awareness of the environmental cause. Among them, the British artist Cornelia Parker addressed directly the participants and political leaders through her work “HURRY UP IT’S TIME”. Unesco and the Art Partner agency also set up the #CreateCOP26 competition, bringing together candidates from 54 countries.

#CreateCop26 Virtual Exhibition © Art Partner Artistic
#CreateCOP26 Virtual Exhibition © Art Partner

5. Olafur Eliasson’s monumental installation

Olafur Eliasson, Atmospheric Wave, 2021 © Wall EQ Office
Olafur Eliasson, Atmospheric Wave, 2021 © Wall EQ Office

Chicago, home to some of the world’s most iconic and beloved public art, welcomed a new installation by renowned artist Olafur Eliasson. With the collaboration of EQ Office, she spent years developing this impressive work made of 1,900 metal tiles. Inspired by the Lake Michigan, this installation transformed the famous building into a must-see urban destination.

6. The return of art fairs and FIAC 2021

Grand Palais Éphémère © Patrick Tourneboeuf/RMN GP/Tendance floue
Grand Palais Éphémère © Patrick Tourneboeuf/RMN GP/Tendance floue

The fair season kicked off in September with Art Paris at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris. A few weeks later, the same venue hosted the FIAC 2021, with its 160 galleries and thousands of works. The Artsper team went on the field to select their favorite works, to discover right here.

7. Pamela Council’s engaging work in Times Square

Pamela Council, A Fountain for Survivors, 2021
Pamela Council, A Fountain for Survivors, 2021 © pamelacouncil.com

Times Square receives its first public fountain and it is a monumental public artwork! Covered with 400,000 acrylic nails, this monumental work by Pamela Council is a multi-sensory experience between light, sound and smell, but not only. This creation is also for the artist a way to “address issues of adornment, Black fungibility and visibility with a sense of humor totally ironic”.

8. Sotheby’s auction record

Chris Carnabuci and his statue of George Floyd, 2021 © ED JONES/AFP
Chris Carnabuci and his statue of George Floyd, 2021 © ED JONES/AFP

In mid-December, the British auction house Sotheby’s announced that it had reached the highest sales figure in its history: $7.3 billion. This new sales record represents the company’s highest total in its 277-year history! It is explained by the emergence of a new public and the multiplication of Asian buyers.

9. The opening of the new museum Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection in Paris

Bourse de Commerce - Pinault Collection © Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney et Marca Architectes, Agence Pierre- Antoine Gatier. Photo by Patrick Tourneboeuf
Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection © Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney et Marca Architectes, Agence Pierre- Antoine Gatier. Photo by Patrick Tourneboeuf

A must-see event this year, the Bourse de Commerce – Collection Pinault has finally opened its doors to the public, after a year’s delay. François Pinault’s incredible art collection is now on display in this rich and majestic building. It includes more than 10,000 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, sound works, and installations from all countries and generations… enough to delight everyone!

10. The most expensive artwork in the world: Da Vinci of Debt

Da Vinci of Debt, 2021 © Natural Light, Artistic
Da Vinci of Debt, 2021 © Natural Light

Valued at nearly $147 million, Da Vinci of Debt has become the most expensive work in the world, passing in front of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting. The installation, made up of 2,600 college diplomas, draws attention to the problem of crippling student debt in the United States. Indeed, each diploma is worth nearly $180,000, which is the average cost of a four-year college education in the United States.

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