If the art world in 2023 could be defined by one word, it would probably be scandal. From the multiple crises that embroiled the British Museum to investigations on human remains implicating the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History, to say nothing of the near-constant seizures and repatriations across the institutional sphere, this was the year museums took a beating.

Architect David Adjaye, adviser Lisa Schiff, and artist Yayoi Kusama all found themselves in hot water, while the fallout over the October 7 attack by the militant group Hamas in Israel and the resulting war on Gaza continues to upend the art world.

This was also the year that the post-pandemic boom times, marked by big debuts, rampant speculation, and a flood of new galleries, finally ended. The all-important auctions in May and November were middling at best, and while the art world’s fair calendar was in full swing, the usual optimism was not. The euphemism “market correction” could be heard across the trade, as uncertainty was the name of the game.

The sentiment about 2023 from most major figures in the art world seems fairly uniform: they’re just glad it’s over.

Below, a look back at the defining events of 2023.