Power list shows growth of British influence in art

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The Independent Online

British influence in the art world has surged in the past year, although the most important player of all is François Pinault, the French owner of Christie's auction house.

That is the conclusion of the ArtReview magazine as it announces its Power 100 list, which has been tracking collectors, gallery owners, curators and art fair organisers for the past five years. M. Pinault takes the top spot thanks to his new museum at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the opening of which was attended by almost everyone of importance in the art world. Americans dominate the list with 40 entries, but the British have 25.

John Weich, the editor-in-chief of ArtReview, said: "The Americans just have the numbers, but the British market has definitely jumped in prestige - not just in numbers but in influence."

Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, is the most powerful British player, at number three in the 2006 survey - the same position he held in 2003 and 2004 before dropping a place last year.

He lies behind Larry Gagosian, the New York gallery owner who also deals in London, and ahead of Glenn Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art (Moma) in New York. Damien Hirst has dropped from pole position to 11th, but Charles Saatchi, the collector, and Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, who founded the Frieze art fair, are in the top 10.

Mr Saatchi, whose holdings of contemporary American art have just gone on show at the Royal Academy, is at seventh place, up from 19 last year. "He's very hands-on. He's really tuned in to what's going on," said Mr Weich.

Mr Slotover and Ms Sharp rose from 33rd to eighth on the back of the huge pull of the fair they founded with considerable élan in London three years ago. Mr Weich said a few people outside London might have difficulty in accepting the Frieze duo in the top 10. "But in just a few short years they've been able to rally an entire metropolis to adapt its schedule to theirs," he added.

Of the decision to place Sir Nicholas above Mr Lowry, Mr Weich added: "No one can compete with Moma in terms of money. But in sheer numbers of visitors, Tate is the largest contemporary museum in the world. And if you look at authentic attempts to be innovative and evolve what a contemporary art museum can be - for example, with its website - I think Tate is at the forefront."

Gallery owners such as Victoria Miro, who represents Grayson Perry and Chris Ofili; Sadie Coles, whose artists include Sarah Lucas; Maureen Paley; and the Haunch of Venison team, Harry Blain and Graham Southern, have all seen their influence rise.

Jay Jopling, who has just opened a giant new White Cube gallery in St James's, London, in addition to his existing gallery in Hoxton, leaps into the top 20 at 19.

Gallery directors and curators including Iwona Blazwick, of the Whitechapel; Ralph Rugoff, the American who has taken over at the Hayward; and Hans Ulrich Obrist, the curator at the Serpentine, have all risen in the power stakes. Artists included this year include Tracey Emin, who is to represent Britain at the next Venice Biennale, Gilbert and George, Gavin Brown and Anish Kapoor.

Mr Weich said: "Even though Rugoff and Obrist aren't British, [the fact they have come to work here] does indicate the pull that London has as a growing and important art capital."

The importance of sponsorship is recognised, with UBS and Deutsche Bank winning a place, and the increasing use of the internet has secured Google 100th place. Other British-based entrants include David Adjaye and Rem Koolhaas, architects; Simon de Pury, auctioneer; and James Lingwood and Michael Morris, from the art commissioning body Artangel.

The top 20

* 1: François Pinault, collector and the owner of Christie's

* 2: Larry Gagosian, dealer and gallerist

* 3: Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate

* 4: Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York

* 5: Samuel Keller, director of ArtBasel fair

* 6: Eli Broad, collector and philanthropist

* 7: Charles Saatchi, collector and gallery owner

* 8: Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, founders of Frieze art fair, London

* 9: Bruce Nauman, artist

* 10: Jeff Koons, artist

* 11: Damien Hirst, artist

* 12: Brett Gorvy and Amy Cappellazzo, directors of Christie's international post-war and contemporary art department

* 13: Robert Storr, curator and academic

* 14: Iwan Wirth, dealer and gallerist, Hauser and Wirth

* 15: Marian Goodman, dealer/gallerist

* 16: David Zwirner, dealer and gallerist

* 17: Gerhard Richter, artist

* 18: Marc Glimcher, dealer and gallerist

* 19: Jay Jopling, dealer and gallerist, White Cube

*20: Mike Kelley, artist