The London-based analytics firm ArtTactic has released the inaugural NextGen Artists Global Report for 2018, produced in collaboration with JLT Speciality.

Art Radar reviews the report’s findings.

ArtTactic NextGen Global Report 2018. Screenshot by Art Radar.

Widening the scope of its auction data-driven reports on the global art market, ArtTactic’s newest report adopts a different perspective and delves deeper into the contemporary art market. The NextGen Artists Global Report focuses on the next generation of international artists aged 40 or below, highlighting trends within gender, education, artist hubs, art market and museum exposure.

As the introduction notes, the last fifteen years have seen an exponential growth in the market for contemporary art: turnover at Christie’s and Sotheby’s has increased from USD270 million in 2000 to USD3.3 billion in 2017. Contemporary art has become the biggest selling auction category for both firms, accounting in total for 39% of their main sales categories: Old Masters, Impressionist and Modern, Contemporary and Chinese art.

However, the auction market is not always a good indicator for the state of the contemporary art market, as only a small number of contemporary artists enjoy a strong auction market presence. This is particularly the case for the younger, next generation of artists. This report attempts to shed new light on this next generation of artists (aged 40 or below), and provide a better understanding of the factors that influence their career paths and choices.

For example, does the next generation of artists need to reside within one of the recognised global art market hubs in order to develop their market presence, or is an established social media presence imperative in order to increase exposure?

The data structure and analysis of the NextGen Artists Report have been built on a framework that looks at an artist’s journey or trajectory in the context of the art market as an ecosystem, in which cultural and economic value is a largely a function of a process of endorsement by tastemakers within that ecosystem.

ArtTactic NextGen Global Report 2018. The Endorsement Process. Screenshot by Art Radar.

This methodology takes into account both commercial and institutional indicators of an artist’s success:  To capture and narrow down the list of artists, the report uses both cultural and institutional criteria (museums, biennials, art prizes), as well as commercial (galleries, art fairs, auctions) data and filters, to try to give a fair representation of the current standing and reputation of these next generation artists.

Below, Art Radar reviews the reports key findings.


It is evident from the analysis of the Top 500 artists in this study, that different artist career trajectories are possible at either ends of the commercial – non-commercial spectrum. At one end, there are artists whose works will be supported by an ‘institutional’ (museums and biennials) structure, whilst at the other end, artists who are perceived as more ‘marketable’ and would typically have a strong commercial infrastructure (gallery and auction). However, most of the artists operate somewhere between these two ‘states’, balancing institutional endorsement with the need to develop a sustainable commercial market.


Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigeria), Camille Henrot (France), Jordan Wolfson (United States), Jonathas de Andrade (Brazil) and Alicja Kwade (Poland) head up the Top 500 NextGen artist ranking in 2018.

However, the Top 100 NextGen artists is still dominated by male artists: Despite three out of the Top 5 artists being female, the findings from the study of Top 500 NextGen international artists show a gender ratio of 46% female and 54% male. The gender gap becomes wider when we look at Top 100 artists only, with 39% female and 61% male artists. For artists with a significant presence in the auction market (more than 25 lots sold at auction in their career so far) – the gender gap increased to 85% male and 15% female.

ArtTactic NextGen Global Report 2018. Top 100 NextGen Artists Gender Ratio. Screenshot by Art Radar.


New York is the NextGen artists’ hub in the world, while Berlin is the preferred city in Europe – 24% of the Top 500 NextGen artists live and work in New York (37% of the Top 100 NextGen artists live in New York). Berlin is the second most important artists’ hub globally, and the preferred place for artists in Europe, chosen by 12% of the Top 500 artists. Los Angeles is the third most important artists’ hub, with 9.4% of the Top 500 artists working and living there, with London marginally behind, with 8.7% of the Top 500 artists having settled there.

ArtTactic NextGen Global Report 2018. Top 100NextGen Artists by Region of Origin, Lives and Works. Screenshot by Art Radar.


Moving abroad can be a crucial step in an artist’s career – 40% of the Top 500 artists moved from their country of birth to develop their artistic practice and career abroad.

Artists born in Europe tend to be more likely to move and live in another country (53% of European artists in the Top 500). 68% of these relocating European artists move to another European country. American artists, on the other hand, are much more likely to stay in the US; only 13% of the US-born artists live and work outside the US.

The highest migration ratios can be found among Middle-Eastern artists in the Top 500, 75% moved away from their country of birth; 20% of these artists live in Europe and 33% in the United States. This is followed by African artists, 72% of who relocate, with 44% settling in Europe.

Higher education seems to be one of the most important reason as to why artists decide to relocate from their country of birth. 72% of artists studying abroad end up living and working in the country of their final degree. London is the most popular choice for Master’s students. 17% of the Top 500 NextGen artists that have taken a Master’s degree studied in London, followed by 14% in New York, 8% in Los Angeles, and 7% in Frankfurt.

ArtTactic NextGen Global Report 2018. Top 100 NextGen Artists Cities to Live and Work. Screenshot by Art Radar.


New York and London are the main gallery hubs for the next generation of artists – 32% of the Top 500 artists are represented by a gallery with a base in New York, with a further 22% of artists having a gallery based in London. In mainland Europe, 15% of artists are represented by a Berlin-based gallery, followed by 13% with a Paris gallery. ‘Incubator galleries’ play an important role in an artist’s career development – 60% of the artists in the Top 500 are represented by these younger galleries, who have a particular focus on representing and cultivating new artistic talents.

Among the Top 500 artists, more than half of the artists (53%) have had group or solo show at one or several top tier museum institutions (such as MoMA, Tate, Whitney, SMAK, Guggenheim, MOCA, SFMOMA, etc.) with 18% of the artists having had solo shows and 45% having had group shows at these prestigious venues.

Almost half (48%) of the artists in the Top 500 have an auction presence, whilst 74% of the artists in the Top 100 have had one or more art works come up for auction.

Instagram has become a powerful tool in the art market, with 79% of art buyers under 35 years old using Instagram for discovering new artists according to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2018. In addition to searching and finding new artists, 82% of art buyers under 35 years old use Instagram to follow and keep up-to-date with artists they are already familiar with, and 32% of art buyers said that social media had an increasing impact on their decision to buy art (this was up from 29% in 2017). So, there is no doubt that social media has become a powerful platform for many artists to build and cultivate a fan base and maybe also a new, younger collector base.

ArtTactic NextGen Global Report 2018. Top 500 NextGen Artists by Total Number of Instagram Followers. Screenshot by Art Radar.

Among the Top 500 artists, 67% of these artists have Instagram accounts, although only 16% of the artists have 5,000 followers or more. The Top 3 artists on Instagram, according to the report, are JR (France – 1,200,000 followers), Amalia Ulman (Argentina – 151,000 followers) and Sim Chi Yin (Singapore – 102,000 followers).

Jessica Clifford


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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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