Articles & Features

The Year Ahead: the Art World in 2024
Major Fairs, Trends & Exhibitions

Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the major events of the art world 2024
Art Basel Miami Beach. Courtesy of Art Basel.

By Adam Hencz

From the globe’s most eclectic art fairs through the latest art trends shaping the scene to the essential exhibitions you can’t afford to miss – here is your cheat sheet to the art world in 2024.

Top Art Fairs in 2024

As the art world is set to rebound to its pre-pandemic heights, 2024 is shaping to be a landmark year. According to the Art Market 2023 report by economist Clare McAndrew, we’re expecting to see around 377 art fairs globally. This is a significant increase from the mere 133 fairs in 2020, inching closer to the 2019 peak of 408. Let’s delve into some of the major art events to look forward to in 2024.

Frieze Los Angeles 2024

29 February – 3 March 2024

Frieze Los Angeles is kicking off the year for the Frieze circuit in February. The art elite will gather under the WHY studio-designed tent, featuring over 120 galleries in the Barker Hangar. Highlights include works by Ed Ruscha, Jennifer Bartlett, and Alighiero Boetti. Those not in LA can catch the Frieze experience later on throughout the year in New York (May 1-5, 2024), Seoul (September 4-7, 2024) and London (October 11-15, 2024).

Rendering of Frieze Los Angeles' 2024 structure, one of the major events of the art world 2024
Rendering of Frieze Los Angeles’ 2024 structure. Credit: WHY Architects.

Art Basel 2024

Various dates & locations

Continuing its legacy as one of the leading art fairs in the contemporary art world, Art Basel continues to dominate with its global presence. The Hong Kong edition kicks off the year in March, followed by the Swiss edition in June at Basel’s Messeplatz, showcasing over 200 galleries and 4,000 artists from five continents. Paris+ par Art Basel, introduced in 2022, takes place in October, while the Miami Beach edition, offering a more party-like atmosphere, rounds off in December.

The Venice Biennale in 2024

20 April – 24 November 2024

The 60th edition of the Venice Biennale, the most prestigious and oldest-running art biennial, is set to open on 20 April. The 2024 theme, Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa, will spotlight artists who are foreigners, immigrants, or exiles, particularly those traversing between the Global South and North. Details of the Venice Biennale 2024 have already started to be announced, including the participation of the United Republic of Tanzania, which will have its first Venice Pavilion, while Australia will be represented by First Nation artist Archie Moore. Benin will also stage its inaugural pavilion in tandem with the 2024 Biennale.

Suggested read: The 2022 Venice Biennale at a Glance

The 60th edition of the Venice Biennale, one of the major events of the art world 2024
The 60th edition of the Venice Biennale is set to open on April 20, 2024.

Art X Lagos, Nigeria

31 October – 3 November 2024

Since its inception in 2016, Art X Lagos has become a cornerstone of the African art market. The fair, which hosted over 40 artists and galleries from Africa and beyond, bridges the gap between continent-based and diasporic artists. It leverages Lagos’s dynamic gallery scene and the growing collector base in Nigeria and across the continent.

Art Trends in 2024

Moving on to 2024’s art trends, we see a mix of optimism in the market, a stronger focus on sustainability, debates around AI in art, and the continued popularity of the hypersentimentalism movement. Let’s take a closer look at the key trends shaping how the art world is responding to today’s economic, technological, and environmental challenges.

Art market outlook for 2024

Despite economic challenges like high inflation and ongoing global issues, 77% of HNW collectors are optimistic about the art market’s performance in the upcoming six months. The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting in 2023 also revealed that in 2024, 54% of HNW collectors plan to buy art, mirroring 2022 trends.

Mainland China, Japan, Brazil, and Italy show heightened buying interest compared to previous years. Paintings remain the most sought-after, followed by sculptures and works on paper. However, there is a decrease in collectors planning to sell their works, dropping from 39% in 2022 to 26% in 2024, as many anticipate an increase in the value of their artists’ work.

77% of the collectors surveyed remain confident about the art market’s performance in the next six months, indicating a baseline of resilience within the sector.

The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting, 2023

The art world aims for more sustainability

Sustainability, eco-art, and ethical practices in the art world are expected to gain increased traction in 2024. This trend is a reflection of growing concerns about environmental issues and a movement towards a more sustainable art world. There is a rising popularity of works that focus on themes of environmental and cultural conservation, while galleries are increasingly adopting eco-friendly production and distribution processes. This shift represents more than just an economic decision; it is a critical response from a generation of artists deeply committed to addressing pressing ecological changes before it becomes too late to reverse them.

Seung-taek Lee, Earth Play at Art Basel Miami Beach
Seung-taek Lee, Earth Play at Art Basel Miami Beach. Courtesy of Art Basel.

AI Art controversies intensify

The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the creation of digital art continues to be a contentious topic in 2024. As AI technology advances, its use in art creation has generated controversy about originality, authorship, and the nature of creativity. One particularly striking aspect of this controversy is the phenomenon of ‘data poisoning,’ where artists intentionally sabotage AI algorithms to challenge the ethics and implications of AI-generated art. This tension highlights the ongoing struggle between traditional artistic processes and the burgeoning field of AI, raising crucial questions about the future of art in the age of technology.

The hypersentimentalism boom is far from slowing down

In 2024, hypersentimentalism will continue to gain momentum in the art world. The term ‘hypersentimentalism’, coined by Artnet’s Kate Brown, can be defined as a sensibility more than a formal aesthetic style. It involves the depiction of intimate, emotional scenes, often portraying the artist’s own social circle or community. In an era dominated by digital interactions and social media, hypersentimentalism can be seen as a counterpoint that emphasizes personal, intimate connections and real-life relationships. As people increasingly seek authenticity and meaningful interactions in a digitally saturated world, this art form continues to resonate strongly.

Art Exhibitions to See in 2024

The art world in 2024 is brimming with excitement, showcasing a blend of retrospectives, technological innovations, and architectural marvels. Here’s a curated guide to the must-see exhibitions of 2024.

Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind at Tate Modern (February 15—September 1)

Tate Modern is hosting a significant retrospective titled Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind, celebrating the avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. This exhibition, running from February 15 to September 1, 2024, will feature her interactive concept works, including the renowned Cut Piece, as well as her collaborative films and music with John Lennon.

Harold Cohen: AARON at Whitney Museum of American Art (February 3—May)

The Whitney Museum of American Art presents Harold Cohen: AARON, a tribute to the British-born artist and AI pioneer Harold Cohen. This exhibition focuses on Cohen’s groundbreaking work with AARON, a computer program designed to create art independently. The show will feature a collection of AARON’s paintings and drawings, along with live demonstrations of the software, highlighting Cohen’s significant contributions to the intersection of artificial intelligence and art.

Harold Cohen, screenshots from AARON KCAT, 2001.
Harold Cohen, screenshots from AARON KCAT, 2001. Artificial intelligence software, dimensions variable. Whitney
Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Digital Art Committee 2023.20. © Harold Cohen

Ed Ruscha / Now Then at LACMA (April 7—October 6)

LACMA is hosting Ed Ruscha / Now Then, a comprehensive retrospective of Ed Ruscha, an artist known for his reflections on American society. The exhibition, spanning from April 7 to October 6, 2024, will explore Ruscha’s career across various mediums. It includes his early European travel works, iconic installations like the Chocolate Room, and his extensive photographic documentation of Los Angeles streets, offering a deep dive into his influential oeuvre.

Vera Molnár at Centre Pompidou (February 28—August 26)

Centre Pompidou is honoring Vera Molnár, the Hungarian-born artist who has been called the godmother of generative art for her pioneering generative works, with a retrospective from February 28 to August 26, 2024. Molnár, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 99, achieved artistic breakthroughs using early coding languages and mechanical plotters in the 1960s. This retrospective will span her career from 1946 to 2023, showcasing her innovative exploration of systems and randomness in art.

Portrait of Vera Molnár from 1961
Portrait of Vera Molnár from 1961. Courtesy of Galerie Oniris, Rennes.

I.M. Pei: Life is Architecture at M+ Museum (June 29—January 31, 2025)

M+ Museum in Hong Kong presents the first comprehensive survey of I.M. Pei, the renowned Chinese-American architect, from June 29, 2024, to January 31, 2025. The exhibition, co-organized by Shirley Surya and Aric Chen, will feature architectural drawings, sketches, videos, and models of Pei’s iconic works, including the Louvre Pyramid. It aims to celebrate Pei’s transcultural vision and his impact on global architecture. Newly commissioned photographs of his buildings by contemporary photographers will also go on display.

Relevant sources to learn more

The Year Ahead: The Art World in 2023

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