Another ArtReview Power 100 List kicks off today, setting in motion the now annual tradition of quibbling over the top slots. This year, like every year, the list leaves room for shock, jest, and flak over who can muscle their way into the art world’s top ranks. It’s the type of list that leaves you scratching your head: What makes Kunsthalle Zürich’s Beatrix Ruf more powerful than MoMA’s Glenn Lowry? Is it possible to be young and powerful? Poor and powerful? We spoke with ArtReview Editor Mark Rappolt about this year’s list, and how its international jurors tend to reward those working on a global scale.
“We’re concerned with ambition and the realization of that ambition,” he said. dOCUMENTA (13) Artistic Director Carolyn Cristov-Bakargiev won this year’s top slot, and while her edition of dOCUMENTA received mixed reviews, it was a giant international show with hundreds of artists and outposts in places like Egypt, Canada, and Afghanistan. ArtReview thinks big.
“[The list] favors curators,” Rappolt added, but only the globetrotting types. “When it comes to curators who are kind of institutionalized they tend to not make the list.” That’s true; there are very few museum curators on this year’s list, even if there are a handful of museum directors.
That makes jockeying for a key position on the list harder for someone like Tate Director Nicholas Serota [#8] and other administrators who, sometimes, need to sit at a desk and deal with what’s happening at their home institutions. Still, with this summer’s opening of “The Tanks” Serota’s institution saw its largest expansion yet; for the Power 100 listmakers, that’s not as ambitious as Cristov-Bakargiev’s global exhibition.
It wasn’t just the scale of Cristov-Bakargiev’s exhibition that gave her the blue ribbon; there’s an aspect of timeliness to a Power 100 list. dOCUMENTA closed in September of this year, right when the voting ended. (The Power 100 list runs on a September-to-September schedule.) No wonder the exhibition was still fresh on the jury’s mind. That schedule, though, makes it more difficult for some artworld mainstays. “Otherwise people like Jasper Johns would permanently be on the list,” Rappolt told us.
Timeliness, influence, and ambition all do well to buffet entrance into the Power 100, and obviously, those things require some deep pockets. Dealers like Larry Gagosian [#2], Marian Goodman [#18], and Johann König [#99] made the list, and so did philanthropists like MoCA board member Eli Broad [#26] (MoCA Director Jeffrey Deitch did not make the list.).
Fear not, the Power 100 does admit the poor into its ranks. According to ArtReview, one factor in the jury’s selection includes “international influence over the production of art and contribution to the art world during the past 12 months.” That’s why Slavoj Žižek [#65] , Jacques Rancière [#92], and Pussy Riot [#57] all made the list.
We wondered about list rejects like Hennessy Youngman, someone who’s made his way into the homes and offices of the art world. What would he, or another artist working in new media need to do to get on this list? Surprisingly, Rappolt said that some new media artists were close this year. “There’s no fixed criteria…if you can do amazing things,” he said. The arrival of artist and Badlands Unlimited founder Paul Chan [#96] seems to signal that change.
Does this mean anything for the art world? Nope. Someone else will top the list next year, and then someone else the year after. But we thank ArtReview each year for giving the press something to talk about for half a day. It’s a list, after all, and the art world is full of them.
The full list is here.