The Art Newspaper has an article today called “Size Matters. Why is the work getting bigger?” It’s a topic they like to revisit occasionally (they published an article in 2007 called “Buyers Say Big Is Best”). The new piece argues there was a pause in large-scale artwork “following the 2008 slump,” and they quote Todd Levin saying, “All those huge installations have disappeared; now people want domestic-size art that they can live with.”
But! With this year’s Art basel and Venice Biennale, the Art Newspaper argues big is back:
Big works, however, are exactly what many of today’s alpha collectors want. With the growth of private museums, they have space to fill and the means to do so. They also want works with huge visual impact: contemporary art spaces, be they private or public, need to grip visitors, give them an “experience” and send them away thinking “wow!” Size is one of the ways of achieving this.
They also mention the physical size of many art spaces across the world, and the necessity to fill them with large works. Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture (8,500 sq. meters), Grand Palais in Paris (13,500 sq. meteres), Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern (3,400 sq. meters) and Guggenheim and Abu Dhabi (31,000 sq. meters) are all mentioned as spaces meant to show large-scale site-specific works.
The subtext of this article seems to be that we’re coming out of a slow market and returning to those heady days of 2007, which is mentioned in the lede as “the art market at its peak,” when contemporary art started to really expand (physically anyway).