HomeNewsNew Trends in the Global Art Market Demand for Ultra-Contemporary Artists Soars

New Trends in the Global Art Market Demand for Ultra-Contemporary Artists Soars

2 Feb 2023, 20:28

Ultra-contemporary artist refers to young artists under the age of 45. People's desire for new things has made the market pay more and more attention to young artists, and almost every part of the art world is actively participating in it. 

Ayako Rokkaku
Untitled, 2021
Acrylic Canvas | 180 x 140 cm
Estimate HKD 800,000 - 1,200,000
Estimate USD 102,665 - 153,998
Price HKD 10,290,000
Price USD 1,311,450
26 May 2022 Christie's Hong Kong
Artist Auction Records TOP 1
26 May 2022 Christie's Hong Kong Refreshing Artist Auction Records

"ultra-contemporary" which is more contemporary than "contemporary"

from 1860s to 1970s From the middle of the 20th century to the 21st century, "Postmodernism" (Postmodernism) appeared. Since then, what is more avant-garde than "modern" is the art form that contemporary people are creating , are generally referred to as "contemporary art". 

The concept of "ultra-contemporary artist" (ultra-contemporary artist) in the current art auction market specifically refers to the group of artists born after 1974. Contemporary artists born in 2010. Ultra-contemporary is a special trend that has emerged in the art market in recent years, reflecting the activity and popularity of artists under the age of 45. 

Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Mixed media Acrylic Paper | 182.9 x 152.4 cm
Estimate USD 600,000 - 800,000
Price USD 3,375,000
16 May 2018 Sotheby's New York
Artist Auction Records TOP 2
16 May 2018 Sotheby's New York Refreshing Artist Auction Records

The reason why ultra-contemporary art has attracted much attention in the market is that these new Artists' works are different from past artists' works with a long history of market and limited number of works in circulation. Sensational artists on the ultra-contemporary list,such as Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Jonas Wood, etc., have difficulty acquiring their works on the primary market, which drives up ultra-contemporary art secondary market prices at auction .

A new situation in the operation of the art market

Auction sales of works by young artists have soared 305% from 2019 to 2021, and the last decade has seen activity in the global market for ultra-modern art phenomenon of rapid growth. The peak occurred in 2013-2014, when global sales rose from approximately $91.8 million to nearly $159 million. After several years of relative calm, significant shifts during global COVID-19 pandemic: After rising to $183.4 million in 2019, auction sales of ultra-contemporary art rose about 40% year-on-year to 2020 $256.4 million in 2019, nearly tripling to $742.2 million in 2021.

Jonas Wood
Two Tables With Floral Pattern, 2013
Acrylic Oil Canvas | 254 x 236.2 cm
Estimate USD 2,000,000 - 4,000,000
Price USD 6,510,000
11 May 2021 Christie's New York
Artist Auction Records TOP 1
11 May 2021 Christie's New York Refreshing Artist Auction Records

Super Contemporary Art The surge in demand was concentrated in regional markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom and China. During the peak period of 2013-2014, the third-ranked UK market and the first-ranked Chinese market each had sales of less than 22 million US dollars. By 2020, the gap between the third-place UK market and the first-place Chinese market has widened to $60 million. In 2021, the sales gap between the third-ranked UK market and the first-ranked US market will reach an astonishing 225 million US dollars, and the combined sales of the US and China will be close to 589 million US dollars. These works of art enabled the world's top three auction houses - Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips - to earn $572.8 million in 2021, a 222% increase from 2020 ( Including traditional art forms and NFT). The craze for non-fungible tokens, such as Beeple, the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club and the creators of CryptoPunks, has undoubtedly fueled ultra-contemporary art.

Angel Otero
Figuring You Out, 2015
Oil Fabric | 244.8 x 184.2 cm
Estimate USD 80,000 - 120,000
Price USD 327,600
16 Nov 2022 Phillips New York
Artist Auction Records TOP 1
16 Nov 2022 Phillips New York Refreshing Artist Auction Records

People's desire for new things has changed the market; and The market's growing focus on young artists has also touched almost every segment of the art world. From art fairs and galleries to museums, people are jumping at the opportunity to access new opportunities in new ways. 

Sotheby's is launching a major new evening sale in New York called The Now, dedicated to works of art created over the past few decades. Art Basel Miami Beach for the first time in 2021 will host a special section dedicated to NFTs. Smaller regional fairs such as SEA Focus in Singapore also keep prices deliberately low, targeting younger collectors. Many well-known blue-chip galleries have added the names of many young artists. Some traditional museums are also in this wave of trends, exploring new ways to share art, attract young audiences and increase revenue. For example, the Galleria degli Uffizi in Italy has begun to hold exhibitions of living artists and is trying to sell digital copies of masters in art history in the form of NFT. 

Interestingly, as the global epidemic has become more routine, the ultra-contemporary art sector, which has seen the fastest market growth in several years, has slowed down: the transaction value of this category in the first half of 2022 will be $365.3 million, up 6.5%, less than any other category in terms of year-over-year growth. The art market critics of The Art Newspaper and Apollo also predicted that the ultra-contemporary art market is bound to come to a calm moment in the future.

Super contemporary artists and their works

People are always more likely to resonate with the tastes of their own generation.The demand for works by young artists in the market is largely driven by the new generation of collectors of. Not only is the younger group of art buyers much larger than before, but surveys show that millennial collectors spend more on digital art than all other generations. 

Shara Hughes
Spins From Swiss, 2017
Oil Dye Canvas | 198.1 x 177.8 cm
Estimate USD 500,000 - 700,000
Price USD 2,940,000
10 May 2022 Christie's New York
Artist Auction Records TOP 1
10 May 2022 Christie's New York Refreshing Artist Auction Records

Different from the upsurge of young artists in 2013 and 2014, in recent years The fast-rising ultra-contemporary stars are mainly female artists, artists of color who focus on figurative painting, and new media artists. Nine of the top 25 ultra-contemporary artists at auction in 2021 are women, and 10 are artists of color (2 of which are women). The average spending of female collectors has also surpassed that of male collectors in recent years, and art investment in 2021 will increase by one-third from 2020 to $410,000.

Chen Fei
North, 2012
Acrylic Canvas | 200 x 180 cm
Estimate CNY 2,800,000 - 3,800,000
Estimate USD 432,311 - 586,708
Price CNY 4,830,000
Price USD 712,154
13 Nov 2021 Cuppar Auction Shanghai
Artist Auction Records TOP 3
13 Nov 2021 Cuppar Auction Shanghai Become the third highest price of artist

Like most trends, there is often empty worry and discussion. The ultra-contemporary market heat leads to speculative buying that can damage the longer-term careers of young artists and devalue the achievements of creative maturity. Nevertheless, this art trend extending from the auction house provides an important foothold for young creators and artists outside the traditional core circle, and has triggered thinking and voices at all levels of the art industry. 

Returning to the works themselves, for collectors, ultra-contemporary is a good opportunity to discover new faces. After all, no matter how the market changes, the art based on personal and true creativity and expression is the core key to attract people's dazzling.

For more updates on the global art market in 2023, please continue to pay attention to ArtPro.

Source: 城市美学新态度 Author: Melody TU