“I think one of the big misconceptions about this generation is that they do not know what they are talking about.”
This January, Talking Galleries hosted their 8th Barcelona Symposium at the Museu d’Art Contemporani. Over the last decade the Barcelona symposium has established itself as a seminal platform for art world debate. Taking place over two days, the conference saw professionals from all areas of the art world discuss everything from art gallery management to art market sustainability. This year, Joe Kennedy – the co-director of Unit London – appeared alongside Artsy’s Alexander Forbes, Bureau Schachenmann’s Claudia Schachenmann and Volta NYC and Pulse Miami’s Kamiar Maleki. The panel, mediated by Art Net’s Tim Schneider, discussed the relationship between millennials and the art market.
“I think we need to understand how we get millennials involved in our industry, and the way of doing that isn’t by not engaging them, it is by offering them value.”
As one of the youngest gallerists in the game, co-founding Unit London at the age of 22, Joe Kennedy is in the middle of the millennial age spectrum and perfectly poised to offer insights into the habits and trends surrounding millennial collectors. Considering the millennial demographic roughly spans those born between 1981 – 1996 (22-37 years old), it is unsurprising that this is the fastest growing segment of collectors in the art world. Many millennials came of age amidst the financial turmoil of the late noughties and subsequently view art investment as a safe haven in volatile markets, as an asset that can be leveraged to build wealth or as a commodity to be sold quickly for large profits.
“We have access to so much data now, whether it is through social media platforms, the website or analytics, and I think you would be foolish not to use that.”
There is huge potential for those in the art world to cater for millennials over baby-boomers, despite the smaller sums currently being invested by them. Many galleries, Unit London included, have their ear to the ground, listening to what the future art market is demanding. It is going to be a very interesting decade in the art world, one in which millennials like Joe Kennedy will be at the forefront of a rapidly changing scene. Watch the panel discussion in full below.