Are Millennials as Art Savvy as the Old?

Are Millennials as Art Savvy as the Old?
Today, the sheer number of millennials exceeds all other generations. But are they as art knowledgeable as former generations? I’ll discuss why museums compete to attract 'Generation Y'.

As the ages for the Millennial generation (Gen Y) are not clearly defined, I’ll use the years 1980-2000 - from a Time magazine article.

The millennial’s love for electronics (computers, smart phones) and social media has given them the distinction of being named the “Me” generation. (Members of AARP certainly wouldn’t be as obsessed with taking ‘selfies’.)
For the purposes of this article I’ll define "old" as anyone older than Gen Y.

Stats from Pew Research on Millennials:
50% are not politically affiliated
On average, have highest number of 'Friends' on Facebook
Send 50+ texts a day
More apt to listen to opinion of friends (instead of marketing or PR)

In 2015, Art News contributor Christie Chu referenced a New York Times article, stating: "Millennials will spend $1.4 trillion annually by 2020" and "They will inherit $30 billion in upcoming years.”

Admittedly, there are some very wealthy young Millennials, but not all.

Museums scamper to attract "young" future art collectors to the wonderful world of art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers the "Met Apollo Circle" and "Young Members Summer Fridays." The targeted age group is 21-45.

The Guggenheim museum has held the "Young Collectors Council" (YCC) for 20 years.
These social events (wining and dining) may be educational as well as involving some in museum acquisitions. This may empower the millennial to make better decisions when purchasing art. But does it?

Millennials have less financial means (than the old) to purchase art
Millennials don’t rely on art dealers or galleries – but instead do their own research and take risks
Millennials may purchase art online, but they also want to see it in person
Millennials may study art history, but they don’t necessarily know more about art then the old

A publicist (whose name shall remain anonymous) from a recognized museum commented on my article, “Nix the National Endowment for the Arts, Why Not?”
Said publicist was offended by my drawing from examples from 1989 (“nearly 3 decades ago” she said)

I dare say, she probably was born after 1990. I ask, "Why did she need to defend the NEA so fervently?"

Excusez-moi? I lived and experienced the examples cited in my article.

Note: Millennials should realize life doesn’t always revolve around them and their tastes.
Surprise! They may actually learn something from the "old."

You can own the book, "Art Collecting Today: Market Insights for Everyone Passionate About Art" available here from

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This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.