Art Market Update
Major exhibitions are one of the most significant factors influencing prices in the art market. This is because they place a massive spotlight on particular artists, movements, themes, or styles, which, if in the right place at the right time, can impact public and collector demand. So with this in mind, collectors should pay attention to exhibitions scheduled for this year and ponder how they might affect the prices of artwork in their portfolio. Below are three significant exhibitions I have identified that investors might like to keep an eye on in 2023.
Pablo Picasso at multiple venues, until the end of 2023
As noted in a previous Market Update, this year marks 50 years since Pablo Picasso, arguably the world’s most famous artist, passed away. Several major institutions, many with the blessing of the Spanish and French government, have banded together to exhibit his work to commemorate the event, with some attempting to ‘recontextualise’ Picasso for a new audience in a new era. One such attempt, likely to be a scathing review (picking up on the proclivity of younger collectors to shun particularly ‘problematic’ artists), will be held at the Brooklyn Museum with guest curator Hannah Gadsby in charge of the proceedings.
Johannes Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 10 February to 4 June 2023
This exhibition will be the most comprehensive collection of Johannes Vermeer shown in one place. Of the 37 known paintings of the Dutch master, 28 will be on show in this exhibition and are bound to pull in massive crowds and publicity.
As we are interested in art investing for beginners, it may seem silly to include this exhibition as one that investors should be concerned. But, just because you are unlikely to afford a Vermeer doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about the impact that this exhibition might have on other artworks, including lessor-known 17th-century Dutch painters as well as contemporary artists whose work is reminiscent or evocative of Vermeer, in that they might manipulate light in a similar manner or whose imagery focuses on mundane domestic scenes being two such examples.
Yayoi Kusama at M+ Hong Kong, until 14 May 2023
The Yayoi Kusama exhibition at M+ Hong Kong titled ‘1945 to Now’ will be her largest retrospective in Asia (Outside her home country of Japan) and feature 200+ works. Importantly, Kusama is presenting three brand-new works never exhibited before. Further adding to the Kusama hype train is her recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton. The store displays are extremely over-the-top, with towering sculptures of the artist painting Harrods in London and the Louis Vuitton Maison Champs-Élysées in Paris with her signature dots, and an impressive 3D anamorphic Billboard montage on the Shinjuku building in Tokyo.
Because of the spotlight on Kusama at the moment, a couple of dissenting voices have appeared. The first is concerning Kusama’s artistic legacy being tainted by the Louis Vuitton collaboration, with one commentator at the Art Newspaper asking Who is signing on the (polka) dotted line for the artist’s mega-brand deals? And the second criticism, stemming from a Vice interview in 2017, and her memoir from 2002, is about her apparent racist ideals. Although, the latter criticism appears to ring hollow from what I can tell.