In a 2019 BBC article “What will art look like in 20 years?“, Devon Van Houten Maldonado consulted contemporary artists about their assessment of the future of art in the next 20 years.
The article says the future may be uncertain, but some things are undeniable: climate change, changing demographics, geopolitics. The only guarantee is that there will be changes, both wonderful and terrible. It is worth considering how artists will react to these changes, as well as what purpose art serves, now and in the future.
Reports suggest that by 2040, the impact of man-made climate change will be inevitable, making it a major problem at the center of art and life in 20 years. In the future, artists will struggle with the possibilities of the post-human and post-anthropocene – artificial intelligence, human colonies in space and potential doom.
The identity policy seen in the art around the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements will grow as environmental, border policy and migration focus even more sharply. Art will become more diverse and may not look like art, or at least not what we expect. In the future, once we get tired of having our lives on display online so that they are accessible to everyone and our privacy is almost lost, anonymity may be more desirable than fame. Instead of thousands or millions of likes and followers, we will be hungry for authenticity and a relationship without an intermediary. Art, in turn, could become more collective and experiential than individual, as is already the case in many contemporary fields.
Among the main artistic topics are also: multidisciplinary and collective forms of art collaborations and inclusions and activists campaigns in combination with political art, meant to be an answer to the social inequalities.
Fine art and oil paintings will still be at the top of the market, but we need to be ready for new tasks and changes coming up at the museums as a social medium. These cultural structures will have much more obligations and the expectations on them will be higher.
“In the year 2040, art might not look like art (unless it’s a painting), but it will look like everything else, reflecting zeitgeists as multitudinous and diverse as the artists themselves. There will be artist-activists leading political upheaval; there will be formal experimenters exploring new mediums and spaces (even in outer space), and there will be strong markets in Latin America, Asia and Africa. So in the world of culture at least, the West may find itself playing catch up.” says as a conclusion the author Devon Van Houten Maldonado.
[picture credit] Olafur Eliasson, The weather project, 2003. Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London