It has just been Thanksgiving for our American art girls! It’s the time of year to reflect on what we’re thankful for, and even though this year has been a major roller coaster, there are some things we can look back on and smile. Coronavirus or not, there have been a few reasons to celebrate this year. So, without further ado, this is what we’re thankful for in the art world in 2020!
No matter how much you hate Zoom and online viewing rooms at this point, there is no denying that this year really would have been hell without them. 2020 was the year that the art world finally embraced technology, meaning we didn’t have to travel to visit all those biennials and fairs. And while we do miss travelling, we must admit there are some perks. Firstly, we can attend more than we might have before and secondly, it enables more viewers to tune in. Those of us working in the art world are blessed to be able to travel for work, but not everyone is so lucky. So in a weird way, 2020 meant art for all!
Besides online exhibitions and digital events, technology also helped us stay connected to our best friends and frenemies, making global lockdowns a lot more bearable!
Artists Supporting Each Other
While we could have all gone indoors and focused only on ourselves, most of us did the very opposite. Artists did their best to look out for one another too, supporting each other online and giving shout-outs to their artist pals. We especially loved the Artist Support Pledge. Started by artist Matthew Burrows, it has quickly become a global support network, and for good reason – it helps artists make money while also promoting their work. To take part, artists post images of work for sale (for no more than £200) using the hashtag #artistsupportpledge on Instagram. If people are interested, they can DM the artist directly to enquire about and buy the work. Once the artist reaches £1,000 of sales, they support their fellow artists by pledging to buy £200 of work from another artist. The true definition of a sweet deal!
Artists Supporting Big Causes
This year was a whirlwind for many reasons and artists did their bit to show up and help a hand. From Jenny Holzer’s posters of solidarity across New York City during the pandemic, to artistic efforts to help those affected by the Beirut explosion, artists have really done their bit. Then there’s the Artfizz X Blum and Poe auction that is offering powerful protest signs to benefit the #sayhername mothers network. And we just can’t forget to mention when Solange hosted a virtual festival in lieu of graduation for Parsons School of Design’s class of 2020. Artists really are great!
Fashion X Art Collaborations
Year on year, art x fashion collaborations have kept us on the edge of our seats, and 2020 was no different. Some of our favourites include Takashi Murakami’s collaboration with Billie Eilish for Uniqlo, as well as Vogue Italia’s commission of a 3D character called Exquisite in the cutest fashion film ever by CGI artist Lucy Bradbury.
Galleries Helping Each Other Out
Who would ever have dreamed that blue-chip galleries would be lending a hand to emerging ones? Us neither! But this year, it really happened! Mega-gallery David Zwirner lent its online viewing room to galleries from across the world. On top of that, spaces like Saatchi in London and Perrotin in Paris used their spaces and platforms to host graduation shows, too.
The Art World Gives The Environment A Break
We’re the first to admit that flying from fair to fair isn’t exactly great for the planet. While many of us were homebound at the onset of the pandemic, much of the Earth enjoyed a much needed break. As a result, the water quality in the Venetian canals became cleaner and clearer, and dolphins were even spotted in its waters. While the biennale was a miss this year, a drop in water traffic and less rubbish being littered on the streets meant that the art world’s favourite city finally got clean!
The Art World Waking Up To Diversity Problems
It’s been long known that the art world isn’t exactly the most diverse place on Earth, often cited as elitist and not exactly ethnically diverse either. Following the death of George Floyd earlier this year, and the continued work of the Black Lives Matter movement, the art world is beginning to wake up to its problems. While much change is still needed, we’re glad to see that galleries and museums are making steps to work on making the art world a place for the many and not the few.
We were especially excited to hear about David Zwirner’s appointment of gallerist Ebony L. Haynes to direct a new gallery in Manhattan. The exhibition-focused space will have an all-Black staff, including PAID internships for black students. We can’t wait to see what they exhibit!
Being An Artist Is Officially One Of The World’s Safest Careers
According to a survey by the New York Times into the jobs most likely to contract coronavirus, it seems that artists are pretty low down on the risk. We all know that arty types like to shut themselves off in their studios for ages so it shouldn’t really be a surprise. So good news, 2020 is a better time than ever to support all your artist friends to continue making art!
Our Arty Support Networks
Let’s face it, we would never have survived the madness of 2020 without our art girls. Thanks to art-girl focused networks like Salon 21, Marguerite and our very own The Art Gorgeous House, we were in it together, holding each other’s not-so-perfectly-manicured hands through it all.
Text Lizzy Vartanian