Ten Problems for Arts in the 2020s

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Literature Review: Arts Problems for the 2020s

With the advent of the millennial collector and an immense transfer of wealth on the horizon, new ideas and models in the art and finance industry are required. Fewer collectors, art professionals and wealth managers feel they are aware of developments in relation to art as an asset class compared with 2017 [1]. There have been fewer developments in the areas of art investment (such as art investment funds) and art-secured lending (fewer operators and more consolidation). Conversely, however, rapid progress in technology (blockchain and AI) and art-related regulations (such as anti-money laundering legislation) have been seen.

The online art market grew 9.8% in aggregate in 2018 to $4.64 billion, a slowdown from the 12% growth experienced in 2017. Consolidation and casualties will be in the online art market place that clearly remains overcrowded, as the confidence level about the future among online platforms has dropped significantly [2]. Business plans and credit lines will be stretched to breaking point as most will have planned on the online art market getting traction and significant market share much quicker. Blockchain has been much talked about, often incomprehensibly, and has not proved to be the panacea to all the market troubles.

Fragmentation limits the circulation of European works and the ability of the sectors to organize and defend their interests. The concentration phenomenon highlights the dominant position of big non-EU players against the smaller European Culture and Creative Sectors actors especially in the platform and streaming economy [3]. Professionals increasingly require a blend of creative, digital, managerial and entrepreneurial competences, coupled with soft skills. Concerns are being expressed with regard to the limits of the digital cultural participation in terms of social and well-being impacts by contrast with in-person cultural engagement.

The contemporary context of global trends toward the increased privatization and marketization of higher education puts social science, arts, and humanities research at a considerable competitive disadvantage for funding, which affects not only faculty but also graduate students [4]. In this context, public institutions are increasingly seeking private sources of funding for students. Although concerns about private funding are increasingly widespread, many people lack a sense of how to actually address these concerns in their own contexts.

Arts and culture are crucial for developing vibrant societies, broadening people’s perspectives as well as being important indicators of democratic health. Through arts and culture individuals question the world they live in and often share political ideas. Freedom of creative and artistic expression as such has been recognized as a fundamental human right. Yet, the violations of people’s right to express themselves through different art forms have been constantly registered in different corners of the globe, while artists are physically attacked, prosecuted, detained and in other ways intimidated because of the content of their artwork [5].

Starting from such general references, this booklet identifies ten relevant areas from very recent contributions put forward at academic level in the form journal articles, conference proceedings and students theses. Ten freely accessible internet references have been selected for each area and direct links are provided at the end of each chapter for own consultation. Our selected references do not intend to mirror ranking indexes nor establish novel classifications. On the contrary, they are meant to represent peer-reviewed, diverse and scientifically-sound case studies for vertical dissemination aimed at non-specialist readers. They will also be able to scoop even more references through the bibliography that is reported at the end of each selected reference.

Without further ado, these are the “Ten Problems for Arts in the 2020s” that we are going to introduce in this booklet:

  1. education, 
  2. authentication,
  3. participation,
  4. entrepreneurship,
  5. aesthetics,
  6. creativity,
  7. technology,
  8. environment,
  9. science,
  10. regulation.

Each problem has its own dedicated chapter made of an introductory section, a short presentation of the ten selected references and a conclusions section.

The final chapter of this booklet will report the conclusions from each chapter again in order to provide a complete executive summary.


[1] A. Picinati di Torcello et al., “Art & Finance Report 2019”, 6th edition, 2019, Deloitte and ArtTactic, online at 

[2] R.Read et al., “Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2019”, 2019, Hiscox, online at–2019.pdf 

[3] KEA & PPMI 2019, Research for CULT Committee, “Culture and creative sectors in the European Union – key future developments, challenges and opportunities”, European Parliament, Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, Brussels, online at 

[4] S. Stein et al., “The ethics of private funding for graduate students in the social sciences, arts, and humanities”, 2019, Critical Education, 10(16), 1-17, online at 

[5] S. Plipat et al., “The State of Artistic Freedom 2019”, 2019, Freemuse, online at  thou art, pets art, electronic arts, nail arts, pixel art, clip art

“Ten Problems for Arts in the 2020s” booklet for Amazon Kindle, 2020; click on the cover to go to the dedicated Amazon listing page thou art, pets art, electronic arts, nail arts, pixel art, clip art