I don't know about you, but I have enjoyed reading the predictions for the art industry in 2020. It's interesting how much weight we put on the beginning of a new year, now is the time we make changes! When in reality, we work every day to improve our reality for both the immediate future and the long-term.
Speaking from experience, my team and I spent an extensive amount of time in 2019, listening to our clients and non-clients alike on what they need and want to improve their business. Based on my personal POV and professional growth, which included the addition of Inventory Management to ARTERNAL's offerings, I'm sharing the 2020 art industry predictions that resonated with me the most.
#1) "DATA WILL RULE," from Artsy's What's Next for Art in the 2020s
Unsurprisingly, the prediction that stood out the most to me was, "Data will rule." As data-gathering methodologies become more popular, Artsy broke down how three individual art communities - mega-galleries, museums, and artists - are going to utilize data heading into this decade.
"As mega-galleries sprout into institutional behemoths, who's to say that they won't eventually start employing their own data teams to assess artists' markets or the viability of a certain international art scene where they may want to put down roots?"
Considering our clients range from mega-galleries to small and localized, I found this of particular interest. Admittedly, I'm very biased in favor of data and happily have witnessed the art industry beginning to accept the importance of data to the growth of their business. I am also aware of the notion that "mega-galleries will only get more mega," which is another Artsy prediction. Although I appreciate the idea to bring it all in house, I believe it's better in theory than reality when applied to an art gallery, regardless of its size.
Instead, the "buy, don't build," mantra rushes to mind, and I'd counter that mega-galleries, along with their smaller counterparts, will invest a consolidated solution (ARTERNAL) to leverage their data to help them do what they do best! And in case it doesn't go without saying, I mean, of course, establishing relationships with collectors and selling on a global scale.
Biases aside, data is an important conversation, and we aim to democratize the toolset. Intuition + Information is a superpower, and it's available to galleries of any size. Information in the form of data is how we help galleries make the shift - with our solution.
# 2 "The world auction record for a living African American artist will be broken for the second consecutive year," from Nine Heart-Racing, Highly Specific Predictions for the Art Industry by Artnet.
To preface, this article, written by Tim Schneider, is actually for 2019 predictions, and I found it by first reading 7 Dramatic & Highly Specific Predictions for the Art Industry in 2020, both of which are worth a peruse.
The rise in popularity and demand for Black Artist's work is a subject that has been gaining traction for some time now and will continue to do so. Moreover, as the only black CEO driving technology in the art industry, I take a personal interest in following it.
"This prediction is really a proxy for a larger one that's harder to quantify so neatly. By the end of 2018, it became undeniable that artists of African descent had become buyers' and dealers' new favorite demographic for value investing (if you want to be diplomatic) or rampant, exploitative financial speculation (if you don't)."
Hard to quantify, indeed. Yet, this prediction proved accurate as in November 2019, AN IMAGE OF BLACK LOVE by Kerry James Marshall went for $18.5 million at Sotheby's, the second-highest ever paid at auction for a work by a living African American artist.
Some believe the buying spree will stop, but look at the data; it tells a story, and a new hue is driving the narrative. To learn more about this subject and how it penetrates beyond the art industry, I highly recommend The Tanning of America by Steve Stoute.
#3 "It will become clear that execution is about team," 25 Tech Predictions for 2020 by Inc.
I realize this is a "tech" based prediction article, but many of Inc.'s points are universal across any industry, especially when it comes to being a business owner. The art industry is a notoriously difficult one to break into, especially for someone without a background in it, meaning some nepotism working in their favor. This statement may ruffle some feathers, but it’s been documented in the art world, along with other creative industries such as entertainment and fashion, is well known for its hierarchy structure and a system that openly accepts poor behavior if not encourages it.
"If there's anything we should garner from the recent stories about WeWork and Uber, it's this: people matter more than anything else, including the boss or the business plan. With the right people, you can turn an idea into a thriving organization that's not only profitable but also impactful. Without the right people, all you have is a failed idea."
My prediction is that the savvy art gallery owner has already or plans to utilize their talented staff in a much more strategic fashion. Factored into the economics of running a gallery is time, as in time spent doing administrative tasks, which traditionally fall to a gallery assistant or intern. While this frees up a dealer's schedule, it inhibits those staff members from learning how to establish relationships with collectors and sell artwork as a professional for the gallery. Perhaps this used to be "just the way the business is." However, it should not be that way anymore, not with our data-driven solution that streamlines the entire gallery's ability to drive revenue and strengthen relationships.
As a business owner, I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of empowering my team to be the best they can be. I don't surround myself with yes people, nor do I employ highly educated individuals to do tedious administrative tasks to make me feel powerful. I surround myself with professionals that bring their strength and expertise to help drive the bottom line - ARTERNAL's success.
I'm just scratching the surface when it comes to the various predictions out there and offering my reasons behind why I agree or disagree with them. And, of course, as the CEO of the only Revenue and Relationships software solution designed with art dealers and their staff in mind, I can offer a hundred and one reasons why ARTERNAL aligns perfectly with each prediction. But that's not what this post is about, not really, at least. It’s just a conversation that I want to be part of because, just like all of us, I bring a unique POV.
I'd love to hear what predictions you're most intrigued by as well as answer any questions, thoughts, or concerns anyone may have about what I've said or even better about ARTERNAL.