Martin Gayford makes an important point about the global growth of the art market in his review of the Venice Biennale. Gayford is making a throwaway comment but he ends up hitting on the source of art’s growing international role as the common tongue of the world’s billionaire elite and those who aspire to be among them:
The big point, more obvious with every Biennale, is that modern art — which only a few decades ago was a largely Western fad — is now a pan-global language. Another theme is the alliance between contemporary art and modern merchant princes.
Art is a non-verbal language that provides a common context for a wide range of wealthy elites in countries as diverse as China, the UAE, Russia, Brazil, Switzerland and Australia. The Contemporary art market’s rise since 1998 traces not only the growth of this international class of multi-millionaires but also their growing interconnection.