Imagine this is either Damien Hirst or his work because guess who topped ArtReview’s Power 100 list this year? Unfortunately, we’ve already reached our encased shark, unicorn and butterfly reproduction limit.
ArtReview releases their seventh Power 100 issue, a special “titan” assessing month in which they rank the art world elite by their “genuine influence over the production of art, international weighting, art-market relevance and contribution to the art world over the past 12 months.” In case anyone had any question about the authority of this list, let’s be clear: this is no Fortune 500. This isn’t meant to indite the magazine, but rather point out the difficulty of putting together a power list for the art world that is based on more than stock performance. There are simply too many mysterious variables. How does artreview quantifiably determine who takes 70th and 71st place particularly when comparing the achievements of two entirely different professions? What is the nomination process? Which editors are doing the judging? These are questions readers would probably benefit from knowing.
Still, presumably come this Wednesday when the issue is released, we’ll get a few more details on why Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith dropped more than 10 points in influence while Peter Schjeldahl, who wasn’t on last year’s list at all, is now more important than Saltz. (I suspect this has to do with the horribly titled “Let’s See”, a book released this May of Schjeldahl’s collected writings at the New Yorker. ) We’ll also learn about why the Jasper Johns retrospective at MoMA outranks Takashi Murakami’s auction performance, and if we’re lucky, glean insight on Nicholas Bourriaud’s failure to make the list despite this year’s relational aesthetic heavy Whitney Biennial, and theanyspacewhatsoever, an exhibition opening at the Guggenheim this month highlighting work he labeled as such.
Most importantly we will all be given the chance to discuss the rationale behind those taking the top three positions; 1. Science –Damien Hirst (artist), 2. Larry Gagosian (dealer) and 3. Kathy Halbreich (Associate Director of MoMA). I know very little about Halbreich, and to be honest, the careers of a few others on this list, so it will be good to get caught up. With all this ranking, it’s pretty easy to forget the real use of Power 100 lies in its summary the careers of art world figures, and what they’ve been doing of note recently.