African Artists: From 1882 to Now

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In March 2020, the Economist asserted that “contemporary art from Africa has become one of the hottest art markets”. Eight months later, the Art Newspaper upped the bid, with the headline, “Africa’s art market grows even amid adversity.”

Today there are specialist auctions at Sotheby’s and Bonhams dedicated to African art; well-regarded art fairs and festivals in Cape Town, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and elsewhere; and numerous commercial galleries from Africa, establishing themselves in the wider art world, by opening exhibition spaces in Paris, Los Angeles and London. At the 2019 Venice Biennale, Ghana’s debut pavilion drew the greatest attention, meanwhile, institutions such as the Tate, the Whitney and the Serpentine Gallery have all staged acclaimed solo exhibitions by African artists, such as Zanele Muholi, Julie Mehretu, James Barnor.

Phaidon Editors
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