Art for Tomorrow - in association with The New York Times - brings together art world experts to examine the economic and social impact of art. The event will define and assess the most pressing challenges and opportunities in the industry today.

Through provocative interviews and riveting discussions, the carefully curated programme will explore wide-ranging topics, from the squeeze on small- and mid-size art galleries to the perceived lack of diversity in museum collections, and the rise of corporate branding.

Delegates can also attend the Times Art Talks on 12 September, take part in an exciting range of cultural tours and enjoy the world-renowned Gallery Weekend in Berlin (10-13 September).

*Please note the agenda is subject to change as we monitor COVID-19. 

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Day 1 – Thursday 10 September 2020

All attendees will be invited to choose from a selection of exciting tours which include private collections and world-renowned goldsmiths and designers.

As controversies swirl over the colonial-era art that has ended up in Western museums, we take a hard look at some of the thorniest questions surrounding restitution issues. Who should be tasked with discovering whether works have dubious origins? And what is the responsibility of governments and institutions in returning those works to their “rightful” owners or countries?

We hear from an artist whose works grapple with issues raised in the debate about restitution.

How will the business model of the megagallery and the international auction house remain sustainable in these turbulent political times? How will these entities cope with the pressures that financialization puts on the market (and on artists) and the decline of traditional collecting in favor of a luxury lifestyle? Does the increasing critical and popular success of experiential art put pressure on the gallery model?

Day 2 - Friday 11 September 2020

While museums are celebrated for the history and breadth of their collections, they are also being challenged to reconsider past contexts, and to explain the works’ relevance to modern audiences. How are institutions coming to grips with a perceived lack of diversity in their collections? How are galleries and museums attempting to right historical wrongs through new exhibitions or campaigns? What are the drawbacks to the art world’s current preoccupation with identity politics?

According to Artnet, inflation-adjusted auction sales peaked in 2011 and have not got within a billion since. The  Art Basel/UBS report figures show that global art sales have flatlined since 2011. Yet the number of billionaires in the world has doubled since 2009. Why aren’t more people buying art?

International art fairs and biennials have ballooned and proliferated while many would argue that the bricks-and-mortar gallery is in decline. But what are the limitations of these models, and what are the alternatives? What does the art market of the future look like? And how can tech can help create new models?

Visitor numbers at many museums are high, but are people there to look at art, or for the museum “experience”? How has human interaction with art changed because of social media – does it enhance the viewer’s appreciation or detract from it? In what ways has the market benefited? Simply put: Is the new function of art the Instagram opportunity?

Artists, collectors and museumgoers are taking a harder look at their patrons’ sources of wealth, as well as those funders’ political positions. Meanwhile some museums argue that it is unrealistic to suggest that they should refuse money when it is given with no strings attached, and can help fund forward-looking programs. How far should institutions go in distancing themselves from controversial patrons?

Deep-dive discussions on critical issues and emerging opportunities.
(NB: roundtable discussions run under The Chatham House Rule.)

What are the particular concerns and challenges of museums outside of the U.S. and Europe? What is the model? How do they impact the local economy and culture?

In the age of Extinction Rebellion, climate change is a rich subject for artists. At the same time, the industry isn’t necessarily praised for its sustainable practices, with globetrotting art fair-goers, and entire collections being flown from one exhibition to another. How should the art world address this implicit contradiction? And how effective is art in raising awareness and spurring action?

Times Art Talks – Saturday 12 September 2020

Banksy is selling for huge auction prices, and flashy, but very accessible “popular” contemporary galleries are proliferating in cities like London, Paris, New York and LA. Does it reflect a wider rise of anti-elite populism? And does the elite art world feel threatened by this evolution?