Top 2010 Art Market Trends Pt. 3 –

foulkes 233x300 Top 2010 Art Market Trends Pt. 3   artmarketblog.comAlthough 2010 saw a plethora of cities all over the world emerge as centres of cultural and artistic production, one of the most interesting locations of art market growth during 2010 was none other than the city of Los Angeles. The opening of a new building at the LACMA, the naming of Jeffrey Deitch as the new head of the LA MOCA, the sale of the LA based Dennis Hopper estate and other major events that took place during 2010 have taken the LA art scene to new heights – a climb that some say will soon elevate the LA art scene above the NY art scene.

If you have read my last couple of posts on the art market trends of 2010 you will know that one of the strongest trends that I identified from 2010 was a focus on work that was clearly influenced by the concepts and characteristics of arte povera.  One of the most significant auction sales of arte povera style work in 2010 was the sale of the Dennis Hopper estate which, as I mentioned above, was an LA based estate.  Ïnterestingly, we already we have a connection between the arte povera trend and the LA art scene.  To explain the connection between the LA art scene and the arte povera trend further I need to take a slight detour and take a look at the different ways that dealers can approach the sale of fine art.

When a dealer decides to open a new gallery or take on a new market, there are several options that they have when it comes to deciding how they are going to approach that market.  The options are:

A.      Discovering and promoting emerging young talent

B.      Selling the work of well established and highly recognisable artists

C.      Reviving and promoting the work of artists from the past who were either overlooked or just not considered worthy at the time they were most active.

The market for emerging talent in LA is obviously flourishing, as is the market for the work of famous LA artists such as Hockney and Ruscha, which leaves option C as the option with the most potential for dealers.  Art critic Mat Gleason recently wrote a piece for the Huffington Post titled ‘The Ten Most UNDERRATED Los Angeles Art World Stars’ ( see article here: ).  What made me particularly excited to find this article was the fact that three of the artists were artists that produced work that fits in perfectly with the arte povera trend; the second connection between the LA art scene and the arte povera trend.  The current progression of this trend suggests that these three artists – George Herms, Lynn Foulkes and Michael C. McMillen – will begin to get the recognition they deserve as dealers continue to look for “new” artistic talent to promote in the form of overlooked artists from the past.

One of the reasons that LA is such an important location for the arte povera trend is the strong connection that LA has with artistic movements and cultural trends that relate strongly to the concepts and characteristics of arte povera. An influential beatnik trend that emerged in LA during the 50’s and 60’s was partially responsible for one of the most significant arte povera related (even though it appears to have predated arte povera) art trends to emerge in LA – the California Assemblage movement.   According to the Laguna Art Museum website:

“Historically speaking, California Assemblage art was most prominent in the 1950s and 60s. The California Assemblage movement was born out of the Beat Generation of artists and poets, and George Herms was an active participant. Herms, whose work dates back to the early 1950s, is seen as one of the last living luminaries of the California Assemblage movement. Herms’ reclamation and reverence for the found object, along with his appreciation and use of entropy as an active and constant force operating on it, are the tools he uses to transform the detritus of our society into his artworks.”

The connections that I have made over the last few posts between arte povera, assemblage, collage, Latin American art and the LA art scene show that art market trends are more than just random coincidences.  This particular trend has become so influential because of the strengthening and emergence of several markets around the world that have a strong connections with cultural and artistic traditions that can linked to the concepts and influences that resulted in the emergence of the arte povera movement and associated styles.


Llyn Foulkes
Dali and Me, 2006
Mixed media
33 x 26 in. (83.8 x 66 cm)
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

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  • Brett Stuart Wilson

    Hello Nicholas,
    Another insightful article. I’m a big fan of arte provera. I found it extremely refreshing that you acknowledged the value of reviving and promoting artists of the past. Art is almost always time sensitive and what might not of been its time before may certainly be viewed differently now. Especially during a time when there is an insurgence of ideas that originate digitally. Thank you and I’ve passed this along LinkedIn.

    • Brett Stuart Wilson

      My Typo: povera

  • Francis

    Thanks for putting this piece together with your other blogs … what I want to read

  • Jennifer Donald

    Thank you for putting together this series of articles. I enjoyed reading it, and this gives me some ideas on where I might direct my painting in the future. Thanks again.

    All the best,

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