Sarah Cascone is a senior writer for artnet News, where she has worked since its 2014 launch.
For most successful artists, prestige comes early—or not at all.
What does it take to make it as a professional artist today? The most critical thing is to show at the right places early on, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
Data scientists looked at the careers of a half-million artists between 1980 and 2016 and found that early endorsement by prestigious art institutions was the best predictor of long-term success. The data, collected by the firm Magnus, included exhibitions at 16,002 galleries and 7,568 museums, as well as sales at 1,239 auction houses.
“There’s this invisible network of trust that exists in the art world, but the group that decides who matters in art was considerably smaller and more powerful than we expected,” Northeastern University network theory scientist Albert-László Barabási, who authored the study with Samuel P. Fraiberger, Roberta Sinatra, Magnus Resch, and Christoph Riedl, told the Wall Street Journal.
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