I doubt whether Damien Hirst really cares that he's moved up thirteen places

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The Independent Online

Last weekend was dominated by the Big Read, the BBC's attempt to find the most popular book ever, and now we have the ArtReview Power 100, allegedly the most influential people in the art world over the last year. Lists are ludicrous. Once I was voted the 27th most influential woman in Britain, now I probably rank in the hundreds. But such is our current obsession with listing everything from the 10 best electronic records to the most perfect bottoms in pop, that not a day goes by without a fresh one being published, broadcast, and picked over. The ArtReview list is a marketing device dreamt up by eager staffers anxious to sell at least 100 extra copies of this trade magazine to people who may be included on it.

They've thrown in all the usual suspects, from gallerists like the White Cube's Jay Jopling, to collectors like David Geffen of Dreamworks and museum executives like the Tate's Nicholas Serota, up from position 6 to 3. On the basis of his latest show, Common Wealth, I would personally have pushed him down to the third division.

Norman Rosenthal from the Royal Academy also drops from 32 to 42, but with his current shows, the Andrew Lloyd Webber collection of Pre-Raphaelites and the appaling Georgio Armani frock retrospective, Norman seems to have lost his touch.

Why push Charles Saatchi down from the top slot to number six, when he is still putting his money where his passion lies, buying and showing ground breaking art, including a wonderful new show of work by Turner prize nominees, the Chapman Brothers? Included for the first time are established American artists such as Ed Ruscha and the architect David Adjaye. He's just designed my new house, so I have my own opinions on that. Collectors like Miuccia Prada figure for the first time, but this is plainly ridiculous as Miuccia and her husband have displayed their collection of BritArt to the public in Milan long before some of the artists received recognition in public galleries in this country. I also doubt whether Damien Hirst cares whether this year he figures at 49 as opposed to last year's 62. Also, Michael Bloomberg, whose company still sponsors huge amount of new art events in London, has inexplicably fallen out of the list. The whole thing seems a petty exercise in score-settling, and you can bet that the biggest advertisers in the magazine will still be gratified to find their existence validated in the editorial part of the publication.

The problem with saying that anyone 'makes a difference' and quantifying that with a ranking, is that it reduces something wonderful, challenging and rewarding, which is the contemporary art scene, to being about as interesting as the colour range of next season's pantyhose.

Anyone who buys art deserves support, as do those who create it and show it. Sadly most of the people who write about it would be better suited to penning the Nigel Dempster diary, which, by the way, is now defunct.

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