Who pulls the art world’s strings? Power has an obvious allure, but it is the people who wield it who really fascinate us. Those in the art world are a multifaceted bunch, patrons and players, traditionalists and trendsetters, brash market makers and behind-the-scenes brokers. Our annual guide seeks to catalogue these individuals: the auctioneer with the inside line on old Chinese collections; the Old Masters dealer responding to a shifting marketplace by embracing art fairs and Jeff Koons; the curator who divides his time between nurturing the contemporary-art scene in Iran and ferrying modern masterpieces out of the country.
But you will also note the common themes, which show some clear parallels with the world beyond art. When it comes to galleries, the big just keep getting bigger. And if you want to keep an eye on the shifting balance of power, look eastward. To identify those who hold the most sway, this year we added a top-10 list, a simple ranking of names. Following that are the complex stories behind where the art world is going, and who is taking it there.
Art+Auction’s long-running annual power list has previously taken a broad view, with the aim of helping readers discern the art world’s diverse currents and eddies. This year we decided to narrow the field and pull out the leaders across all categories. Top-10 lists may be inherently subjective, but they are perennial conversation starters. So we empaneled a jury of advisers who know more than a little about the ways of power to help create the ranking.
The respected advisers for this year's Art+Auction Power 100 were Max Hollein, director of the Schirn and Städel museums in Frankfurt, Benjamin Genocchio, editor in chief of Art+ Auction, Lisa Dennison, Chairman of Sotheby’s North and South America, and Sara Fitzmaurice, Founder of arts PR firm Fitz & Co.
Without further ado, Art+Auction presents its full Power 100 list. Let the debate begin.
To view the full Top 100 list, click here or on the view slideshow link above.