Art World Problems: Changing of the Guard

In the future, the work of older white, male artists will most likely be less popular in art auction rooms than it once was. But taste is cyclical, and whatever the market is up to, the artworks themselves remain the same as when you bought them.

Words: Joanna Mendelssohn

In the 21st century Australian Indigenous art is so prized by the international art markets that it is now often seen to define all Australian art. Perhaps it is the zeitgeist, a changing of sensibilities that has led Western taste to value the wisdom and insights of ancient cultures. Certainly, something has changed from 50 years ago when Australian public galleries, commercial dealers and most collectors regarded Indigenous work as anthropology.

It is worth remembering that in 1974 the ambitious plan by the Aboriginal and Torres Islander Board of the Australia Council to exhibit and sell Indigenous art had to go overseas, because there was so little local interest. These international exhibitions triggered so much interest that by 1976 Art International devoted a 20-page feature article on the art that was still rejected by state galleries as not being worthy of consideration…

Photo courtesy: Руслан Гамзалиев, Unsplash.

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