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Millennials Shelling Out Big Racks for Fine Art Work

Millennials Shelling Out Big Racks for Fine Art Work

By Donitra Clemons

  • In the last two years millennials bought almost half of the artwork priced at $1M

  • Millennials purchase more socially conscious pieces of work by people of color

Many millennials are foregoing starter homes and instead buying art. They are choosing to leave the cheap reprints in their college dorm rooms and invest in original pieces by fine artists. Catalyzed by higher incomes and the ubiquitousness of the internet, millennials are purchasing more art than the generations before them. In the last two years, 22-37 year old adults bought almost half of the artwork priced at $1 million or more, according to a new Art Market report by Art Basel and UBS.  

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Why This Matters: The purchasing power of these young collectors helped to boost the “global art market to its second-highest level in a decade,” notes the report. A substantial amount of their purchases were sourced or purchased through social media, where black adults are the largest user group. Specifically, the Art Market report noted that 93% of millennials made purchases online, spending and average of $106,930.

The Art Market report noted that 93% of Millennials made purchases online, spending and average of $106,930

Millennials are investing in artists discovered at forums like Miami’s Prizm art fair, L.A.’s Superfine. Also, online platforms like Saatchi Art, Paddle8, and Artsy  where pieces range from $50 to $50,000 grab their attention. This generation tends to see art as both an investment and a part of a movement, often purchasing more socially conscious pieces, and works by women and people of color.

Situational Awareness:  Black millennials in particular, have been a part of a tremendous surge of cultural input in the art world. Social engagement and momentum is almost as valuable as a single monetary transaction. From leaders like digital curator Kimberly Drew introducing artists to her audience of close to 300,000 and MacArthur fellow Njideka Akunyili Crosby, to musicians like Drake, rapping about his displaying well-known artists in his home and Solange performing her music in the Guggenheim in New York City; we’re seeing millennials present, promote, and purchase art in their own way that’s stimulating the entire industry.

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