Today, Art Review releases its annual Power 100 list, a ranked list of the contemporary art world’s figures with the most “power,” a word defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as “the ability or right to control people or things.”
That makes the art world sound like feudal Europe, but it’s actually very progressive. Reigning over the number one spot this year is Shiekha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, of Qatar—a woman!
Also, this year’s power has been gained not just from capitalism, but from the salt of the earth, featuring representatives for social engagement (Theaster Gates (40), Thomas Hirschhorn (39), Anne Pasternak (47)), education (first-time universities Frankfurt’s Städelschule (78) and New York’s Bard Center for Curatorial Studies (80)), and even YouTube (Ryan Trecartin enters the race at 64).
On the other hand, mainstream criticism have no power (def 2a: influence or authority) at all, even according to the magazine that anoints it. Previous entries Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith are absent.
Also noteworthy: David Zwirner has taken Larry Gagosian’s number 2 spot, knocking him down to number 4. And where Gagosian bleeds, young vampires rise: Hans Ulrich Obrist & Julia Peyton-Jones (5), Tim Blum & Jeff Poe (30), and Gavin Brown (34) all rose in the ranks, grappling with weathered hands the art world’s sheer precipice of the unforgiving shale, gazing upward in hope of a brighter future only to see the steel toe of Shieka Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani’s boot.
And they’ll have to do better to hold those spots so long as they’re tailed by Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi (48), who jumped almost 40 slots this year, demonstrating a snowballing momentum that can only come from actual power.
Here’s the list in full.