It requires no special foresight to be able to make ultra short-term predictions or remark upon the art world’s most recent obsessions. Observe: Giant Barack Obama heads will last at least another three months before they go the way of 2008’s greatest art casualty, the nude. But I do see a fair number of exhibitions each week, so it is with that background that I offer a few budding trends that I expect to move with greater force over the next year.
Arctic Art: Who knows what’s driving this interest — perhaps ecological concerns? Either way, investigations of bears, ice-capped mountains and log cabins will continue to mount. Expect to see more socially conscious art in 2009.
It’s the End of the World as We Know It: Hello houses on fire, crumbling landscapes and barren forests! Understandably, artists currently have a rather bleak outlook on the world, and unless rainbows and lollipops suddenly take over the cultural consciousness, those perspectives are unlikely to change over the course of the next twelve months. I predict apocalyptic scenes depicting the fall of Western civilization will continue, though perhaps with a shred more hope.
Philosophy-Based Art: Here’s a crappy trend: post-studio art largely produced by armchair philosophers in the 26-and-under crowd. I’m all for the betterment of academic discourse in fine art, but reading a few philosophy staples and regurgitating popular art discourse from the late 1970s and early 80s does not constitute progress. Step it up, kids.
3-D Printing Technology is the New Photoshop: In 2001, artists like Lucas Samaras discovered photoshop filters littering galleries with art nobody cared about, because it turned out common usage of the distortion tool isn’t all that groundbreaking after all. Presenting artists with the opportunity to use these same sorts of tools sculpturally, increasingly affordable printing techniques allows us all to stretch out photos of our faces and then have a machine render them three-dimensionally. I foresee this will inspire a remarkably bad, but ultimately short lived art-making fad exploring little more than what the technology does.
Art on the Cheap: Now that we’re all poor, I expect we’ll see greater investment in art-making forms that don’t cost much. Performance may ultimately see a come back, but as I noted earlier, nobody seems interested in nudity, so we may be spared the worst of it.
Chelsea Galleries Move to the Lower East Side: In 2008, a lot of new galleries opened on the Lower East Side, along with a few that relocated from Chelsea. We’ll see if the neighborhood has the space, though I’m guessing roughly eight percent of those in the contemporary fine art business will relocate to the L.E.S. We’ll really see movement down there if someone finally comes up with a better map to navigate the area.