For the past 17 years, the British publication ArtReview has published a ranking of the 100 most powerful people in the art world. Placing on the list can often cement one’s status in the art world, so the list is hotly anticipated by many, and now the publication has revealed the people who appear on this year’s edition.
Though the art market’s top players still rank high on the Power 100, this year’s list is led by Glenn D. Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which recently reopened after a $450 million expansion and renovation. ArtReview said in a statement that MoMA’s new hang, which had the entire art world had been expectantly awaiting, “dramatically steps away from a traditional, linear presentation of art history.” (Other critics, like Maura Reilly and Olga Viso, both writing in ARTnews, disagreed.)
Though ArtReview lauded Lowry for pushing MoMA in a new direction, the editors also recognized activists whose protests have been instrumental in effecting change at institutions like MoMA. Ranked second on the list is photographer Nan Goldin, whose group P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) has led numerous protests against the Sackler family’s alleged role in the opioid crisis through the sale of OxyContin by the Sackler-owned company Purdue Pharma. Since the group’s first action in early 2018, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Tate, and the National Portrait Gallery in London have announced that they will no longer accept Sackler money.
Other notable entries on this front are the activist group Decolonize This Place, at #19, which has staged numerous high-profile actions at the Whitney Museum in New York and most recently MoMA`. The authors of the 252-page report about the restitution of African objects from France, Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy, are listed at #9. The Indonesia-based collective Ruangrupa, who have been tapped as artistic director of Documenta 15 opening in 2022, are at #10 and are deemed to “best represent those who are creating new institutional models and systems.”
“In a year—and era—marked by disruption, protest and bitter conflict between outsiders and the establishment, not least over the question of who gets to represent culture, institutions have been forced to respond with convincing arguments or risk being sidelined,” ArtReview’s editors said in a statement.
The market held strong on the list, with Iwan & Manuela Wirth, the power couple behind powerhouse gallery Hauser & Wirth, now placing at #3, up three spots from last year. Meanwhile, one of their competitors, David Zwirner, is now ranked lower than them—having topped 2018’s list, he is now #5. And, after opening a new eight-story flagship in New York, Pace’s Marc Glimcher ranks at #23.
The top 10 follows below, and the full list can be accessed here.
1. Glenn D. Lowry
2. Nan Goldin
3. Iwan & Manuela Wirth
4. Hito Steyerl
5. David Zwirner
6. Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy
7. Thelma Golden
8. Yayoi Kusama
9. Maria Balshaw