Art news – the April wrap-up: from the art market trends to the Venice Biennal.


As April is drifting to its ending with the main event of the year - i.e the vernissageof the 59th Venice Biennial on April 23rd 2022, a lot of things have happened in the art world.  In case you have missed the hot stuff that went on, I will give you some essential news to keep you updated with the dynamic events of the art world:

1.       Some data from the arts market …  

The Art Basel report was published in the first weeks of April, giving us a clearer view on what happened in the past year:  

  • The United States remained the largest single market, with sales rising by a third during 2021 to just over $28 billion, and despite sales in China grew more than the US, they totaled only $13.4 bln.
  •  Dealers have recovered from the pandemic, but they did not reach pre-pandemic levels, whereas auction houses have experienced the strongest rebound, thanks to online sales (that are here to stay, report says).  
  • NFTs sales have continued growing and gaining interest since last year and progressively all the most important institutions are surrendering to this new evolution of the system.

2.      … And some high bids insights:

  • Louise Bourgeois’ bronze sculpture Spider IV will be offered at Sotheby's Hong Kong contemporary evening sale later this month, and with a $20m estimate it is the most expensive sculpture offered at auction in Asia.
  • March auction sales had a taste for surrealist works, with René Magritte’s L’empire des lumières (1961) brought in a hearty $79 million for the first time (the painting was never sold in the primary market until this moment).
Spider IV, Louise Bourgeois, Bronze wall releif, 1996.

3.      What happened in the Milan Art week:

April was a full month for the city of Milan: whether you were an artist, a collector, or simply an art enthusiast, you couldhave found the perfect art fair or exhibition for you. The art week offered a wide range of arts related events and vernissages that testified that Milan’s art scene got back on track.

Many exhibitions opened, from Fondazione Prada’s Useless Bodies? to Cattelan’s installations at Cimitero Monumentale and Massimo De Carlo Gallery.

Useless Bodies?, Fondazione Prada Milano, 2022

MiArt - the most important contemporary art fair in the city - was a success, and the presence of both national and international galleries, as well as many young collectors, were signs of a very positive reception of the exhibition. However, the fair has not shown particular interest towards digital art.

Not a single NFT was sold, or displayed in the fair, even if other Milanese realities have shown to be up to date with the digital art scene: from ReA! To UnFair, the emergent and NFT artists were given spaces to show their works to the public. In general, Italy Is emerging as an unexpected hub for Crypto Art, and in the next season we will probably see a higher participation from traditional institutions.

MiArt 2022, Milan.

4.     There is much more in Venice than the BiennialGardens!

On Saturday April 23rd the Cecilia Alemanni’s Biennal will open in Venice. It is considered a turning point forthe art scene, a definitive rebirth of the arts after covid. The city will finally welcome back not only artists, but in a wider sense, the magic and the energy that used to animate the biennial season, inside and outside the arsenal and garden. Here are some events and exhibitions you should not miss:

  • AnishKapoor works will be exhibited in newly restored Venetian Palazzo Manfrin, at the Galleria dell’Accademia, opening on April 20th 2022.
  • PeggyGuggenheim museum temporary exhibition “Surrealismo e magia. La modernità incantata”, curated by Gražina Subelytė, opened on April 9th and will run until September 26th,2022.
  • The 59thBiennial committee decided to dedicate a space to show solidarity to the Ukrainian population in the aftermath of the Russian invasion. The installation, named “Piazza Ucraina” has the purpose of giving voice to Ukrainian artists and tocreate a space that can be a place for discussion, dialogue and support forUkrainian culture.
Anish Kapoor exhibition at Gallerie dell'Accademia, Palazzo Manfrin, Venice, 2022

As the expectations are high for the major event of the year (once again, theVenice Biennial), will not be caught unprepared! A special project is being launched in Venice next week: Artists against war will be an AR installation engaging artists in an open dialogue dedicated to this historical moment throughout NFT art.

Stay tuned for more insights from the art world and to discover exhibitions and events in the next weeks from Venice and from all over the world!

Written by
Alice Asia Bergagnin