This report observes the causes and effects of Contemporary Art’s inexorable rise that drove up the value of ‘blue-chip’ art in in the wake of the global financial crisis. Reduced public funding pressured institutions into fundraising and created an increasing dependence on sponsorship by corporates and a handful of large gallery ‘brands’. In an exhibition economy driven by numbers, major museums that turned to blockbuster exhibitions, alongside art fairs and a handful of galleries with diversified business models, achieved a global footprint and created a global art language further promoted by media coverage.
The report addresses the importance of audience engagement in the present, and attempts to outline the factors that are accelerating important changes. Much of the literature on the subject to date has been directed at the manner and methods with which institutions should engage audiences. Though we acknowledge the evolvement of these new approaches, the focus of our report are the motivations for successful institutions to shift most of their resources to developing and growing their audiences, as well as examining some of the impact this has had on the role of curators and the way shows are now presented.
The forecast discusses the value of Artists’ Estates in securing the legacy of practitioners, as well as its increasing relevance in the art market. A process that was formerly considered important for late-career artists is defined here as a crucial step for those who intend to be key players in an increasingly professionalised art world.
The report examines the vital importance of institutions in today’s mutable cultural landscape. In particular, it traces the recent developments of private art institutions throughout the world, the best of which exhibit a growing trend in sophistication and ramping up of quality through professional standards, engagement with partners, and demonstrable public-mindedness.
The Report Art Institutions of the 21st Century chronicles key aspects of the think tank Media in the Expanded Field, which took place at Fundación Casa Wabi, Mexico, in July 2016. The publication explores the changes in the role of art institutions in the 21st century, arising from a number of key factors such as globalisation, privatisation, and the impact of technology, alongside developments in the production and reception of art.
Jointly commissioned by Montabonel & Partners and Museums Sheffield, this comprehensive report was written by respected journalist Louisa Buck to contextualise the project Going Public, as well as to record the knowledge generated at its eponymous symposium. Hosted by Sheffield Hallam University, it engaged respected figures from public museums, private collections, funding bodies and the political sphere on the question ‘How can the public and private sectors work together more effectively?’
This memorandum was compiled as a result of a discussion between Edward A. Shanken, Nicolas Östlind, Emma Lewis, Lizzie Homersham, Dan Holdsworth, Michael Reisch and the team at Montabonel & Partners.