Friday, October 15, 2010

The most influential people in art? (2010)

Art Review Cover November 2010
According to the 2010 Art Review Power 100 the top ten are:

1. Larry Gagosian - gallerist

2. Hans Ulrich Obrist - curator (#1 in 2009)
3. Iwan Wirth -  gallerist
4. David Zwirner - gallerist
5. Glenn D. Lowry - Museum Director (MOMA)
6. Bice Curiger -  Curator (2011Venice Biennale)
7. Sir Nicholas Serota -  Museum Director (Tate)
8. Eli Broad -  Collector (USA)
9. RoseLee Goldberg -  Curator and Director of Performa (performance art festival not the Apple Mac of the same name!)
10. Fran├žois Pinault - Collector (France)  (#1 in 2006 and 2007) but actually he owns both Christies and the Haunch of Venison
The Power 100, published each year at this time, is a comprehensive listing of the artworld’s most powerful figures. Entrants are ranked according to a combination of influence over the production of art internationally, sheer financial clout (although in these times that’s no longer such a big factor) and activity in the previous 12 months – criteria which encompass artists, of course, as well as collectors, gallerists and curators. Regular appearances are also made by those who run the major art fairs, by museum and foundation directors, and even by the occasional critic.
The 2010 ArtReview Power 100 - Introduction
This is the ninth year of the list's production.  You can see the full list here - my comments would be that:
  • this appears to be an incredibly westernised view of the world  - one might even accuse it of being New York centric.
  • It leans very heavily towards the middle men (galleriests/curators) rather than the producers (artists/architects) and the collectors - lest we forget that without those who spend the money there is no art business!).  
  • To all intents and purposes, the top of the list looks to me like a total celebration of those who have been spending money on gallery real estate.  A number have opened or are about to open new galleries or are donating money to museums for galleries.  
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Gagosian has opened a new gallery. 
  • Collectors made up just 20% of the list in 2008 (the latest figures available on the website) - but where are the Chinese, Russians/Eastern Europeans and the Indians in the 2010 given they've all been been prime movers in the contemporary art world in recent years?  One Chinese collector gets in at #98 but then he does split his time between Beijing and the west!  It makes me wonder what this list would like if produced by a Chinese Art Magazine!
  • it's also very heavily biased towards contemporary art rather than art per se.  this list only about the prime movers who influence the nature of and the prices in "the contemporary art market" - which is of course a very different thing to "the art world"! I really don't mind a list being entirely focused on contemporary art but how about a more accurate description to avoid problems with the advertising standards authority? ;)  The Contemporary Art Review Power 100 would seem like a much more appropriate and accurate title for this list - and gets in the brand name and what it's all about in a neat package? :)
  • view the lists for previous years here. 
According to the LA perspective 2010 was the year when performance art went mainstream and consequently there are a number of performance artists in the top 100 this year.

I know I might be a complete neanderthal in other people's eyes in terms of my interest in keeping up with the comings and goings in contemporary art world (ie this is very low on my list of priorities!) but I'm just wondering why I only know two names in the top 10 and so very few in the overall list.

UK performance in art

So far as the performance of UK artists/gallerists and curators in this list are concerned:
  • Sir Nicholas Serota, the top placed Brit and Director of the Tate, has dropped from #3 to #7
  • Jay Jopling, owner of the White Cub has dropped from #14 to #25
  • Gavin Brown, a British gallerist in New York is in at #30, virtually unmoved from last year's #32 -however he doesn't yet rate an entry in Wikipedia!
  • Matthew Higgs, curator (artist, critic and publisher) ranks at #43.  It does rather seem like to get noticed you need to be based in New York
  • Nicholas Logsdail - gallerist ranks at #48 and gets a Wikipedia entry for his Lisson Gallery!
  • Sadie Coles - gallerist is at #49 climbing a long way from #84 in 2009, she's now seen as a major player on the London Art Scene
  • Damien Hirst is down at #53 which is only a marginal drop from last year when he was #48 but is still an extremely long way from the #1 spot he got in 2008
  • Toby Webster is a Glasgow gallerist who apparently dominates the art scene in Scotland's second city is in at #64 and up 30 places from #94 in 2009.  (Which prompts the question of who dominates the art scene in Scotland's first capital or doesn't Edinburgh count in the contemporary art world?)
  • Anish Kapoor artist and big mover in British Art in 2010 having come in at 62 when he wasn't even in the list in 2009 and his last entry was #96 in 2006.  He's got it due to the commission for the Olympic site.
  • Victoria Miro - a London gallerist comes in at #74
  • Where is Charles Saatchi - who topped the very first list in 2002?  He can be found at #81, down from #72 last year 
One has to say there are an awful lot of people ranking above both Hirst and Saatchi!
    You can:
    • see the power stats here - this analyses the backgrounds of the different people in the list across the years since the list began - but this analysis only goes up to 2008.  I'd love to be able to see what the differences are in this year's list given the fallout from the recession over the last two years.  The most noticeable thing about the 2008 list had been the way that the artists increased in number from 19% in 2007 to 30% in 2008
    • read some rather old feature articles about what it's like to be a power in the art world - they have exciting titles ;) like ‘How to Become an Art Brand’, by ArtReview, November 2008
    • register to get the entire magazine on your screen, free, here.  One aspect disappoints - although the website says it's available to read online it isn't - they've still got the October edition up!
    The Art Top 100 2010?

    Of course if you were looking at a real Art Top 100 in 2010 it would look very different. 

    I think maybe ArtReview needs to look a bit harder at which are the art museums which really pull in the crowds (see below).  Other lists I've covered in the past on this blog include:


    Theresa Bayer said...

    I would say that the most influential people in art are artists themselves. Also manufacturers of art materials, plus art teachers and artist's models. These are foundational. There would be no art without them, and therefore no galleries, museums, or collectors.

    When artists step into the studio, or open a sketchbook or go out on a plein air excursion, they are creating their own world. There is nothing more influential that that.

    Paola said...

    It's always interesting to read about who's influential and ground breaking in the art world... But Theresa's comment made my day!

    Katherine Tyrrell said...

    On the other hand if there were no galleries, museums and collectors there might be an awful lot of starving artists! ;)

    I think the things for me (this is the Libran coming out!) is that there needs to be a balance in all things

    Everybody is important - but I really don't think who's done the best deal on gallery space ever makes you the most influential!

    Over-inflated maybe...... ;)

    vivien said...

    This used to be a good magazine once upon a time with a wide range of contemporary art covered (under the old editor who had a sense of humour and a great sense of the ridiculous and wasn't afraid to be blunt)

    Then it changed with a female American editor taking it over, who always had photos of herself in elaborate costumes and pages and pages of people at opening nights holding glasses of wine :>(

    I don't buy an art magazine for this. Or to stroke her or the wine drinkers egos!

    Also it started to concentrate purely on conceptual art.

    I cancelled my subscription and was sad for the death of a good magazine.

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