Shifting Art Market Hubs

Art Market Update

Last week, South Korea was the hub of the art world, as Frieze held its first art fair in Asia in its capital city, Seoul, from the 2nd of September to the 5th.

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Haegue Yang, Handles at MoMA, 2019

So why did Frieze choose to do its first fair in Seoul?

Frieze will be aware that the number of investors/collectors in Asia is growing at an incredible rate. Art collecting in Asia is now so popular that many Asian nations now register in the top ten for art spending in the world, usurping positions on the list from traditional European hubs. 

Art Basel & UBS Report

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Market Share of the Post-War and Contemporary Sector in 2021: Art Basel & UBS Report

Korea recently took over Germany as the fifth largest art collecting market in the world. In 2021, Korean collectors spent the equivalent of US $700 million (900 billion won) at auction and elsewhere, to acquire the works of celebrated global and local artists. Korean expenditure is expected to lift to 1 trillion won in 2022, with young Koreans driving a significant portion of this demand, in lieu of traditional investments and real estate (which is becoming prohibitively expensive there as it has in western countries).

In regards to the latter, and with Asia’s growing presence in the art world, collectors should be taking note of heretofore overlooked Asian artists, who could turn into great investments once they catch on with collectors outside of Asia. Sungsil Ryu, Haegue Yang, Lee Bul, and Hun Kyu Kim are a few artists that come to mind in this respect.

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