2010 and Beyond: Trends in Contemporary Art


Just in case you thought we were finished with the lists (ha! never), here we go again with one that’s a little more forward thinking, a little less retrograde. After debating public art, defending the New Museum, speculating about Dia, and worshiping Jerry Saltz, wethinks ’tis time to set our lovingly-etched crosshairs on what’s coming in 2010 and the following decade. Not as flippant as Charlie Finch (who teasingly predicts that Damien Hirst will “come out of the closet” and marry Banksy) or as cut-and-dry as TimeOut New York (Matisse and the Whitney Biennial, revolutionary), we like to think our crystal ball is attuned to the frequency of the art world at large. Weigh in after the jump.

Video Art

Post-Performa, we’re left wanting a tangible record of performance-based art. And duly noted, we’ve been noticing a lot of solid video work in the wake of canonized favorites both old (Bruce Naumann) and new (Candice Breitz). Curator Amanda Schmitt’s series Seven Easy Steps features over 40 video artists in rotating themes that read like a self-help book and encapsulate The State of Art Today (“Spiritual Discovery,” “Loving Relationships”), while Jerry Saltz himself stopped by a Soho20 opening last summer featuring new women-in-video artists selected by auteur Kate Gilmore. And considering that half of the artists presented in Berlin Hamburger Banhof’s capstone art prize were working in the video realm (Omer Fast, the marvelous Keren Cytter) — and we all know Berlin the arbiter of the hip and new — we can smell the creeping omnipresence of video as hot medium.

Art Salons

Again, this trend has been percolating for awhile now — hell, the notoriously behind-the-times New York Times Styles section profiled a few of them — but we can’t stress enough that art salons are back with a vengeance. Not surprising considering the DIY spirit of our post-boom times, the demand for affordable art, the growing population of laid-off creative types, and a general nostalgia for things that came before (hello, Gay Nineties).

New Media

A no-brainer. Artists like Penelope Umbrico, who culls repetitive images from the web to make tiled collages; Alberto Gaitán, who synthesizes online communication into drip paintings; and Cory Arcangel, who composes masterful arrangements of kitten videos from You Tube, are three current incarnations of the trend, each taking a medium (the internet) and producing tactile results from online noise. The next wave of cross-platform communication resulting in new media artwork is only getting bigger, more innovative, and will surely be the juggernaut of the 2010 era. As these projects get more conceptual, traditional museums be challenged to display and promote such work.

Object Design

Found objects and garbage art: old hat. Instead, we hedge our bets on artist like Florian Slotawa and Michael Johansson (our recent pick for Next Big Thing) who re-contextualize existing objects into compositions that reflect a new perception of reality. It’s no longer enough to carelessly, or even thoughtfully vis-à-vis Duchamp, present a ready-made object as the be-all, end-all of three-dimensional art. Instead, those objects will be reconstituted into intelligent design — call it the Martin Kippenberger effect.


As a backlash to the constant word scroll of new media and its online counterparts, we’re likely to see both painting and multimedia work move in a text-free direction. The last two decades have used text — whether scrolling like Holzer or scrawled like Emin or collaged like Ligon — as a primary conceit. And as much as we like the aforementioned artists, we’re looking forward to the possibility of a little radio silence. After all, you know what they say about pictures (worth a thousand…).

On a related note, some other theories on the direction of contemporary art were put forth on the ArtListPro network: information imagery like charts and graphs, social media, online art vendors, virtual art tours, and earthy/imperfect art. Now, your turn! What do you see happening to the art scene in the next ten years?

Images courtesy of Andy Freeberg, via The Morning News.