Asia Became the Center of the Art Market

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014.

According to analytical materials published by Bloomberg, purchases made by art collectors from Asian countries continue to be one of the leading forces in the development of the global art market. However, the study says that the bulk of these acquisitions account for the best work in any category, whether it is Impressionist painting, contemporary art, or luxury goods.

In this article, we talk about how Asia managed to outgrow the US, France and the UK in just a few years and become the center of the global art market.

While the United States and the UK have long been regarded as the world’s art centers, the numbers now show that the art market is moving to Asia. Even though the United States has more museums and artistic events, China has surely become the most successful auction house in the world.

One of the reasons for this phenomenon is that China was ahead of its time when it started investing in the online art business before other countries. This has made the Asian art market better able to withstand the pandemic, and the transition to a more digital market has been quicker and easier.

Another reason is that the young Western population is increasingly interested in Asian culture. Asian culture has been more present in popular art culture. This applies to music, films, literature, and art. As a result, auction houses have also started noticing the appeal of Asian artists for their sales.

Fang Lijun, Untitled, 1999.

Hong Kong is one of the most integrated cities in the global art market. In 2021, Hong Kong welcomed Art Basel. South Korea, and more specifically Seoul, is also at the forefront of the global art market. The Frieze art fair is being hosted in Seoul in September 2022.

South Korea produces a sufficient number of successful artists. Some top Asian artists of the 70s, such as Li Wufang, sell their work for record prices at auctions.

Auction houses clearly understood that selling the work of top Asian artists in all markets would guarantee their growing success. The strength of the Asian art market has grown during the pandemic. Philips, for example, has increased engagement with Asian customers by 30% since the lockdown began.

Many major auction houses are planning to increase their physical presence in Asia. Christie’s Hong Kong headquarters will open in 2024. A Phillips office will soon appear there as well.


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