Avantgarde Art Market

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Stefania Minutaglio

What is the avant-garde art market?

Let’s not get confused with the historical avant-garde of the early twentieth century. This has nothing to do with Futurism, Cubism, Dadaism: certainly Picasso and Matisse no longer represent the avant-garde revolution, but the “classic ” contemporary (the so-called “blue chips“).

Avant-garde today in the art market means artworks that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox sometimes difficult to sell in the normal circuits. Avant-garde mostly includes installations of large dimensions; this often involve the use of taxidermy or organic elements (when not whole carcasses of animals, as in the famous case of the Damien Hirst’s shark) under formaldehyde or under resin.

Installations often include multimedia elements, producing an encroachment of languages between visual and performing arts, between sound and video. They are complex works, which inhabit a transversal territory between disciplines sometimes in stark overlap, in an area of interconnection that blurs each stylistic “purity”.

The avant-garde art market constitutes a specific segment of the art business, formed by emerging and mid-career artists, who already had numerous exhibitions and who already started to draw the attention of the press and critics, in the process of moving from the primary to the secondary market in the auction circuits. It is a fluid and high-impact market luring the most innovative and experienced collectors who are attracted by a much higher profit – although fluctuating – than that guaranteed by the blue chips.

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