Equity markets see the dotcom boom turn to bust, the tragedy of 9/11 heralds a new scale of terrorism and the financial crisis in 2008 results in a depression in the art market.

Continuing a trend also felt in the decades leading up to the millennium, in the 21st century the distinctions between different genres have become increasingly blurred, with many artists working across media and in a variety of styles. Sculpture has seen a resurgence of interest, with young artists exploring combinations of traditional and new materials, while painting remains a dynamic site for experimentation. The art world is increasingly international, influenced by major exhibitions such as documenta and the Venice Biennale that, in recent years, have showcased artists from outside the west alongside their better-known peers.