Curators crowned kings of the art world

Artists relegated to also-rans in power list

Andy McSmith
Sunday 23 October 2011 05:04

If you want clout in the art world in these recessionary times, you are better off putting pen to paper as a curator than paintbrush to canvas as a jobbing artist. And being famous for making a vast amount of money by immersing dead animals in formaldehyde and exhibiting them in art galleries is definitely not enough.

It is only a year since Damien Hirst topped the Power 100 list issued annually by Art Review magazine. If it embarrassed him at all to be named in 2008 as the most powerful man in the world of art, he need be embarrassed no more. In this year's list, out today, Hirst has dropped like a stone to 48th place.

The top slot has been taken over by Hans Ulrich Obrist, a Swiss-born art critic and co-director of Exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, in Kensington, a job created for him after he had curated about 90 exhibitions across Europe. Second place goes to Glenn D. Lowry, director of New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), who did not even feature in last year's list.

Behind them in third is Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, confirming that it is curators rather than artists who are now regarded as the real movers and shakers of the art world.

"The people who are the top are the people who are kind of flexible and are able to cope with a world that is rapidly changing," said Mark Rappolt, editor of Art Review. "This is partly because of the recession, but partly because it was happening anyway, because you need to be flexible to work on a global level.

"People can nip to Berlin, or go to New York for a weekend, whereas before they had to rely on somebody else's report from those places. This has made the list less dominated by London and New York, with a lot more Germans and others coming in. Hans Ulrich Obrist, who is at the top, has all these different hats on as a curator and a critic. This is not true of Damien Hirst. There is no 'School of Damien Hirst'. His influence does not extend that far."

The Power 100 list is compiled by 20 people from the art world, from all over the globe. It is published in October each year, to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair, which opened in Regent's Park yesterday and runs until Sunday.

Apart from Mr Rappolt, who chaired the panel, all of the judges are anonymous, to avoid any professional embarrassment, such as the hurt feelings of those who think they should have been placed higher.

The philosophy behind the list is that the world's art is run by networks, in which the people who matter most are not always those whose names mean anything outside the art world. Sir Nicholas Serota, Larry Gagosian, who runs the Gagosian chain of galleries in New York and London, and the French billionaire art collector, Francois Pinault, feature near the top of the list year after year.

Britain's best known art collector is the advertising mogul, Charles Saatchi, husband of Nigella Lawson, but he is down at 72 on the 2009 list. The highest ranking creative artist is the American sculptor, photographer and performance artist Bruce Nauman, in 10th place. Fellow American, Jeff Koons, best known for making balloon animals out of stainless steel, is at number 13. The British artist Tracey Emin, she of the unmade bed, does not make the list at all.

The Power List in full

1. Hans Ulrich Obrist

2. Glenn D. Lowry

3. Sir Nicholas Serota

4. Daniel Birnbaum

5. Larry Gagosian

6. François Pinault

7. Eli Broad

8. Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda & Brian Kuan Wood

9. Iwona Blazwick

10. Bruce Nauman

11. Iwan Wirth

12. David Zwirner

13. Jeff Koons

14. Jay Jopling

15. Marian Goodman

16. Agnes Gund

17. Takashi Murakami

18. Alfred Pacquement

19. Fischli & Weiss

20. Mike Kelley

21. Barbara Gladstone

22. Steven A. Cohen

23. Dominique Lévy & Robert Mnuchin

24. Adam D. Weinberg

25. Marc Glimcher

26. Brett Gorvy & Amy Cappellazzo

27. Tobias Meyer & Cheyenne Westphal

28. Ann Philbin

29. Matthew Higgs

30. Matthew Marks

31. Tim Blum & Jeff Poe

32. Gavin Brown

33. Ralph Rugoff

34. Liam Gillick

35. Anne Pasternak

36. Dakis Joannou

37. John Baldessari

38. Isa Genzken

39. Paul McCarthy

40. Michael Govan

41. Eugenio López

42. Cindy Sherman

43. Ai Weiwei

44. Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

45. Annette Schönholzer & Marc Spiegler

46. Diedrich Diederichsen

47. Richard Prince

48. Damien Hirst

49. Bernard Arnault

50. Massimiliano Gioni

51. Amanda Sharp & Matthew Slotover

52. Joel Wachs

53. Victor Pinchuk

54. Udo Kittelmann

55. Marina Abramovic

56. Michael Ringier

57. Gerhard Richter

58. Richard Serra

59. RoseLee Goldberg

60. Kasper König

61. Roberta Smith

62. Monika Sprüth & Philomene Magers

63. Germano Celant

64. Emmanuel Perrotin

65. Peter Schjeldahl

66. Beatrix Ruf

67. Okwui Enwezor

68. Nicolas Bourriaud

69. Karen & Christian Boros

70. Isabelle Graw

71. Maurizio Cattelan

72. Charles Saatchi

73. Jerry Saltz

74. Jasper Johns

75. Louise Bourgeois

76. Thaddaeus Ropac

77. Mera & Don Rubell

78. Thelma Golden

79. Sarah Morris

80. Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

81. Anita & Poju Zabludowicz

82. Paul Schimmel

83. Jose, Alberto & David Mugrabi

84. Sadie Coles

85. Daniel Buchholz

86. Victoria Miro

87. Maureen Paley

88. Johann König

89. Nicolai Wallner

90. Maria Lind

91. Massimo De Carlo

92. Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi & Maurizio Rigillo

93. Rirkrit Tiravanija

94. Toby Webster

95. Long March Space

96. Nicholas Logsdail

97. Harry Blain & Graham Southern

98. Claire Hsu

99. Peter Nagy

100. Glenn Beck

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