Blockbuster year for art


2012 will surely be a year that people remember.  The Olympics and Paralympics, the Diamond Jubilee, the re-election of Obama, a new James Bond film, Pussy Riot challenging Putin, a global glimpse at the Royal cleavage and not to mention the modern royalty that is Kim and Kanye.  It has been a spectacular year for the art world too, with blockbuster exhibitions and record-breaking sales what feels like every other week. Some people regard 2012 as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. However, if we make it through December 21st then 2013 holds plenty of exciting events to indulge your inner art connoisseur.

Do you feel like you see The Scream everywhere you go?  This isn’t just the effect of back-to-back event and deadline hangovers without a Reading Week.  It’s been a big year for the legacy of Edward Munch.  Not only did the Tate Modern hold a successful exhibition over the summer called Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye, but the Norwegian artist broke records for the most expensive work sold at auction at Sotheby’s New York in May, selling The Scream for $119.9 million (£74 million).  If you found a love for symbolist art work with Munch this summer then you should start getting ready for The Portrait in Vienna 1867 – 1918, to be held at the National Gallery in London in autumn next year.

The Scream wasn’t the only record breaker this year.  In addition to records set by individual artists, Christie’s broke the record this month for the highest total for a Contemporary Art auction, bringing in $412.2 million. If you caught the auction bug this year then stay up to date in Semester Two with Christies online where you can watch live auctions, or download the new Sotheby’s app for iPad where you can browse what’s currently at auction and predict what will break the records next.

Did you fall in love with the sense of beauty and nostalgia offered by Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde at the Tate Britain still on to the 13th January, and want to know more about the women behind the red hair?  Effie will be released in cinemas in March next year and takes a look at the relationship between John Ruskin, his wife Effie and John Everett Millais.  A dose of culture and history in period drama form with a selection of gorgeous and famous stars…perfection.

Finally, if the major London exhibitions of David Hockney, Lucien Freud and Damien Hirst made you want to take the next step in celebrity artists and exhibitions as the place to see and be seen, then book your flights for the Venice Biennale. The 55th International Art Exhibition will take place in Venice from June 1st to November 24th 2013.  Whether or not you love art, an all-night party or a combination of the two then this is the event for you (warning: cheque book mandatory)

2012 has been a difficult year as well as an amazing one. There have been headlines both distressing and delightful. Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss auctions as mercenary and ridiculous, exhibitions as attention grabbing and lacking integrity, and the right to view masterpieces only going to the highest bidder. However, the best of art in 2012 is just the beginning of 2013 and with so much in store it isn’t time to jump ship just yet.


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