Last month, The Economist ran the above chart and commented, “The rise of contemporary art is closely related to the growth in the art market.” The statement could be true. It could also be that the rise of art market in the past decade and a half tracks the growth of Contemporary art institutions. The Frieze Art Fair started in 2003 a few years after the opening of the Tate Modern in 2000.
Art Basel Miami Beach chose Miami for the number of private collectors with large, almost institutional collections. And later many of those collectors opened their own museums which have the freedom to take risks that larger institutions cannot.
Contemporary art seems to be what the public wants—and artists, their dealers and museums are happy to supply it. […] “The interest in contemporary art is much broader, much richer and much deeper than it was when I started out 30 years ago,” says Paul Schimmel, a Los Angeles curator-turned-dealer.
Among museums, grand institutions like the Museum of Modern Art in New York are seen as stuffier than the Kunsthallen, the not-for-profit municipal art galleries found in many German cities. Earlier this year the Ludwig Museum in Cologne opened a retrospective by Andrea Fraser with a video of the artist having sex with one of her collectors. Los Angeles-based Ms Fraser is well represented in public collections in Britain, France and Germany, but considered too daring for an American retrospective.
Contemporary art: On a wing and a prayer (The Economist)