Art Fag City Presents: The 2010 Power Five

by Will Brand on November 5, 2010 · 4 comments Opinion

Almost exactly six months after the destruction of the art world’s last pinata, lots of folks are taking their annual swing at Art Review’s Power 100. Not to be outdone, we’ve just put the final touches on our own ranking algorithm.

The 2010 Art Fag City Power Five is an exhaustive look at those in the art world who can exert the most force. Entrants are ranked according to social pull, impact on art production, and weight – criteria which encompass collectors, artists, and assorted hangers-on alike. We hope this list, however brief, will be at least as enlightening as Art Review. Without further ado:

5. David Geffen

The media mogul and collector has always been willing to roll up his sleeves and make the big deals; the only question now is whether we want him to wear sleeves at all.

4. Ross Bleckner

A question for Ross: what the hell is wrong with the left side of your face? The first ten pages of a Google Images query for the artist contain 45 pictures of him head-on or from the right, and only five from the left. Even the pictures that do exist from the left, it’s probably because the person standing on the right outranks him: Nicholas Cage, the Undersecretary General of the U.N., and so on.  AFC can confirm, though, that he has two ears. What’s the deal? Coincidence or galactic plot?

3. Jack Pierson

Giving up his home in Southern California, Pierson in 2004 moved his studio to New York’s Gravesend Bay to facilitate a more aquatic practice. He has only been sighted sporadically since. The above photograph, snapped by a tourist moments after Pierson emerged from the waves to save the life of a drowning woman, is the most concrete proof we have of his continued existence. Well, that, and he just had a show at Bortolami Gallery.

2. Jason Andrew

Looks like the naked Arnold from the beginning of Terminator. He runs a gallery and curates and works with the Tworkov estate and a lot of other stuff but ultimately he looks like a cyborg and he probably has a cyborg dog.

1. Ruben Natal-San Miguel

The picture above is worth at least 700 words. The collector/curator/blogger/wearer-of-many-hats is clearly one of the most substantial figures in New York today.

Ultimately, then, Mr. Natal-San Miguel has managed to muscle his way to the top. In the course of our research and deliberations, we’ve come to some interesting discoveries. Firstly, in contrast to Art Review’s infamous occupational demographics, we found this year’s crop of curators, writers, and collectors to be, on the whole, distinctly weak; it must be considered, then, that perhaps the case for the decline of the artist has been overstated. Secondly, where Art Review’s 2010 list is only one-fifth women, with Venice 2011 curator Bice Curiger placing highest at sixth, our findings are even more dire: no women placed in the Power Five. Given the certain objectivity of our method, the question must be asked: what is preventing women from showing their strength in today’s art world? Haven’t we solved these core problems of equity and opportunity yet?

Statistical small print:

Our ranking criteria were:

  1. Weight: A simple combination of bench press and squat max weight.
  2. Social Pull: Clearly a key skill in the Rolodex-driven world of art. Measured by results in an imaginary double-elimination tug-of-war tournament, assuming identical teammates but allowing for variation in ideal position. Primarily a measure of lower-body strength and endurance.
  3. Impact on Art Production: A proxy for explosiveness, determined by imagining who could punch Terence Koh the hardest (an exceptionally entertaining Gedankenexperiment). Upper body and core strength, height, and martial arts training (if any) come into play here.

Also considered were baldness (always a good sign) and, apparently, pet ownership.

The Art Fag City Power Five is in no way affiliated with but nevertheless heavily indebted to Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Soon we'll be looking at the Biggest Names in Art. Spoiler: Dimitris Daskalopoulos does well.


Ruben Natal-San Miguel November 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Thank you so much! I am a bed sick right now and you can’t imagine my surprise when I got to the number one . Wow!

Jhon November 6, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Is Jack Pierson carrying Kembra Pfahler? Should we interpret that as a comment on gender inequity in the arts?

Ambrose Thompson November 6, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I think the cat should be considered. Anything that large and gorgeous must pull some weight.

Julia December 11, 2010 at 9:24 am

I think there are cat lovers involved here…. Jason Andrew at number two!?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: