Art World In Flux 2020: A Year in Review (Recording + Highlights)

What has the art world learned from 2020?

We started the 2021 ArtEvolve calendar by reviewing what happened in the art world in the last 12 months. The year of the ‘unprecedented’, 2020 came with a number of challenges and our ArtEvolve conversations often focused on how art organizations could rise to these challenges.


We started by asking which topic your organization focused on in 2020?

Results of an ArtEvolve webinar poll showing that the pandemic was a big focus for art organizations in 2020.


It’s no surprise that the global pandemic was on everyone’s minds in 2020. As the pandemic hit, individuals and organizations, both in the art world and beyond, were forced to adapt to new ways of working and figure out how to deal with a completely new set of challenges. With art organizations figuring out how to manage shipment disruptions, cancelled exhibitions, and closed venues, we spoke about Insuring & Reinsuring During COVID-19. Our guest, Adam Prideaux, Director of Hallett Independent, shared valuable insights to those looking to navigate the early days of the pandemic.


Difficult circumstances often force new and innovative solutions, and we all did a lot of thinking outside the box in 2020. At the end of the year, we looked back and asked ‘Did Pandemic Predictions Come True?’ and Digital Strategy Consultant Sureyya Wille helped us pinpoint how the pandemic had forced the art world to adopt new technology.


Art Technologies

Many galleries had previously exhibited works through some kind of online platform before, but with social-distancing rules shuttering doors throughout the art industry, online viewing rooms started popping up virtually everywhere. In April, Joe Elliott of Artlogic told us they were working on setting up 40 OVRs in one week. In June, Marianne Magnin, UK Managing Director of Arteïa, and gallery owner David Levy shared their OVR collaboration with the ArtEvolve audience and gave expert advice to anyone thinking about going through the process.

Later on in the year we were also treated to a tour of VOMA from its artistic director, Lee Cavaliere. He showed us how technological improvements and innovations have improved virtual art spaces.



Shipping and Art Movement

Shipping was the second most popular answer in our poll and the topic of our most popular webinar of the year – with almost 500 attendees! Simon Hornby of Crozier Fine Arts and Fred Weijgertse of Crown Fine Art joined us for an in-depth discussion of Fine Art Shipping Protocols and Trends For The Pandemic.


While some issues brought about by the pandemic have been resolved or at least smoothed over – COVID protocol for safe transit, for example – many concerns still exist and will continue to pose challenges in 2021 and beyond. What if an object gets stuck in lockdown? Do we continue with our planned projects? Will museums be open?


We also briefly talked about our own efforts to support the art world and mitigate risk in art movement via our Virtual Courier tool. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about the launch in our upcoming webinars.



Sustainability and green protocols were another hot topic in 2020, with ArtEvolve discussing these from a number of different angles. Caitlin Southwick from KiCulture shared some achievable and actionable measures to lesson the environmental impact of art organizations while Bernadine Bröcker Wieder from Vastari focused on how exhibitions are changing with the development of a regional exhibition economy. Another thing we learned: sustainable initiatives are often cost-saving exercises too.


Collection Care

Leen Gysen, Managing Partner at IPARC, bridged the gap between sustainability and collection care with her talk How Innovation is Driving Sustainability In Conservation. Not only did she give us the lowdown on new treatment methods, she also shared her predictions for the future of conservation. Austin Senseman, co-Founder and CEO of Conserv, also chatted with us about what collection care might look like in a few years time. Using technology such as sensors and environmental monitoring software looks set to help art professionals think about condition in more insightful ways than ever before, bringing together cause and effect to reach actionable solutions.


Driving and Supporting Social Change

As the Black Lives Matter movement took shape in the US and beyond, we were joined by Sean Green from Arternal who spoke on his experiences as one of the few black executives in the art industry. Later on in the year, Baiqu Gonkar, Founder of Art Represent, talked about how art institutions can contribute to meaningful dialogue and help drive positive change in the world.


We finished the first webinar of 2021 with a poll querying what topics the art world would focus on over the coming year.

Driving and supporting social change remains a priority for the art world in 2021.