These days ArtReview’s PR people insist that any mention of ‘the Power 100’ must always be followed by: ‘is an institution’. But strange as it may seem, that wasn’t always the case…
Back in 2002, no one in the artworld ever talked about power unless it was whispered in the soundproofed control rooms of their subterranean art bunkers. Of course, power – exerting an influence over the weaker-minded individuals who cross your path – was what everyone in art truly craved. They all pretended they were reading some text by Nicolas Bourriaud about ‘inclusion’ and ‘open-endedness’, but in private they were reading Iyanla Vanzant’s Tapping the Power Within or Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo’s Feel This Book: An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy and Sexual Satisfaction, while reminding themselves that the twentieth century’s most powerful creative minds tend to get more than their fair share of sex.
Given that it runs a scriptorium, however, ArtReview was naturally of a more scholarly and monastic bent. And it was reading the famous vicar and partridge-shooter Charles Caleb Colton’s celebrated Lacon (1820), from which the following passage leapt out and struck it like the direct hit of a thunderbolt to the eyeballs: ‘To know the pains of power, we must go to those who have it; to know its pleasures, we must go to those who are seeking.’ And so, once it had recovered enough of its sight to use its brand new iMac DVSE, ArtReview professed the love that, for everyone else in art, had dared not speak its name: the love of power.
Of course, ArtReview didn’t want to brag about the length and breadth of its reading when it wrote the introduction to its inaugural Power 100 list. No one likes a show-off . So instead it used the magic of the ‘bold’ function on its new copy of Adobe InDesign to highlight the words ‘jockeying’, ‘idea power’, ‘privately’, ‘key moment’, ‘changed’ and ‘you’ in the midst of its usual friendly, unthreatening, inclusive waffle. Nuff said, right?
Well, it was back then, when people weren’t so stupid. But let’s try and work it out: as you leaf through the glorious first issue, there’s a hint, in a featurette called ‘Power Couples’, that ArtReview, always known for its subtle manipulations of art and the people who hang around it, was using its power list to launch a campaign for gender equality. The artworld ‘specialises in power partnerships’, ArtReview shrieked, baring its breasts and adopting a half-remembered pose from an art-history class on Delacroix. That is, before realising how exposed it really was, covering up and turning tail in full-fl edged retreat, muttering that ‘behind every great dealer is a woman of great taste’ and leaving only the masculine part of any of the partnerships it appeared to be celebrating on the list. Exceptionally, Lucy Mitchell-Innes shared the number 5 slot with fellow gallerist David Nash (the lesson here, ladies, is to make sure your man includes your name in that of the gallery). Still, to balance things out, ArtReview mentioned Tracey Emin’s (41) unnumbered lover Mat Collishaw, and pointed out that Warren Miro, the famous ‘property panjandrum’ (ArtReview’s mother had bought it an antique thesaurus for its birthday) ‘helps out his favourite tenant, wife Victoria Miro’. Although now that it’s thinking things over, ArtReview’s not sure that balanced up anything at all…
Still, the game of power is all about coming first. And in 2002, Charles Saatchi, ‘the leading market-maker and artist-maker in contemporary art in London, New York and Berlin’, managed to make the number 1 spot on his own, having ‘a kind of absolute power on the contemporary art market’. Elsewhere, Phillips de Pury were about to dominate the auction market, curating was ‘currently the most desirable vocation’ among all arts professions, East London pub landlady Sandra Esqulant was the 80th most powerful person in the artworld, and Gerhard Richter (4) was the only artist in the top 23 (Jeff Koons, ‘the epitome of the commercial art world – seemingly vulgar and shallow, but actually shrewd and highly profitable’, was sparkling away at number 24). As ArtReview was saying, the world was… errr… certainly a different place back then. No one had heard of David Zwirner or Iwan Wirth, and Louise Bourgeois was presumably still best known as the woman of great taste behind the late museum director Robert Goldwater. That’s not to say that things weren’t better back then. Because it can’t remember anything about that time, ArtReview’s sure it enjoyed its free tab at Esqulant’s Golden Hart, and it’s definitely going to mount a campaign to reintroduce the term ‘picture dealer’ (last applied to Ivor Braka, number 68 in 2002).
In 2003 ArtReview decided to teach its readers that power was a fleeting thing. Charles Saatchi, the man who had held ‘absolute power’ over art just 12 months previously was deposed, tumbling down the power pile to number 6. And as it would with any former lover, ArtReview started telling its friends how rubbish the ex had been in bed. It pointed out the ‘hoots of derision’ that had apparently accompanied the opening of Saatchi’s new County Hall gallery and peddled rumours of a falling-out with numbers 25 (dealer Jay Jopling) and 49 (Damien Hirst) – although, on reflection, ArtReview concedes that there is little logic in claiming that number 6 is beholden to numbers 25 and 49 for his power. Whatever, you all lapped it up at the time. And now that the ex had married a celebrity chef (Nigella Lawson), ArtReview wholly failed to contain its mocking titters, issuing the devastatingly cutting speculation that Saatchi might ‘be moving into catering’ in the near future.
But enough of all that, by now ArtReview only had eyes for the far more distinguished-looking Ronald Lauder. And to prove it, it came out with what was already starting to become its trademark love token: a meaningless sentence. ‘Cosmetics billionaire Ronald Lauder’s influence in the art world and beyond is unrivalled’, it gushed, before adding, with a saucy wink and snigger, ‘and as wide and deep as his pockets.’ ArtReview even had enough love left over to pen a similarly fatuous token of its ardour to our lover no. 2, French billionaire François Pinault: ‘still one of the very biggest animals stalking around the artworld’, it squealed while ogling the photo of him clutching at his groin. Meanwhile, ArtReview introduced the artworld to the following: the world’s most famous bag-maker, Takashi Murakami (new entry at number 7 by virtue of his work for Marc Jacobs rather than any of that useless gallery ‘art’, ArtReview helpfully informed you); David ‘son of powerful Cologne dealer Rudolf’ Zwirner (new at 32); Iwan ‘the very incarnation of the gallerist as producer’ Wirth (new at 17); Miuccia Prada (new at 79), the world’s second most famous bag-maker; and revealed that art theorists were ‘ultimately more influential’ than art critics (Benjamin Buchloh, number 85). Oh, yes: forgetting that she had once had a powerful artworld husband, ArtReview allowed ninety-two-year-old Louise Bourgeois (40) on its list, although it did come up with this moment of sublime stupidity, lest she forget her place: ‘the Zeitgeist pendulum of contemporary art has swung back in her direction. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day.’
On an equally sad note, after 2002’s pub session, ArtReview lost its appetite for alcohol. But luckily not for comedy: it named Gil Perez, the doorman at Christie’s, New York, the 50th (50th!) most important man in art. ‘So good is he at meeting the high-net-worth group which attends important evening sales and special events that he sometimes swaps doors, and can be seen in London, Paris and Los Angeles’, we uttered marvellingly. ArtReview’s real purpose, of course, was to make you lazy art people raise your game in the power stakes. And that’s why it settled an ex-pop star (the KLF’s Bill Drummond), a Hoor (Al-Qasimi) and a dentist (Adrian Mullish, Damien Hirst’s tooth fairy) into places 98 to 100.
In 2004, to celebrate a trinity of its by now internationally famous and massively respected power lists, ArtReview paid British poet Edward Lucie-Smith to write about the future of its glorious project. Edward earned his crust with this opening salvo: ‘ArtReview’s new Power 100 list can perhaps be taken more seriously than most’. (Although our PR people – rather an aggressive bunch – keep telling us that we should track down the editors who allowed Eddie to retain that ‘perhaps’, reduce them to tears and then fi re them.) We paid Eddie because he’s a man who likes to please and, like all poets, is wonderfully silver-tongued, enabling him to deliver this innocent-sounding inanity: ‘If one were to make a list in fi ve or ten years’ time, it would be very different’. Which cleverly camoufl aged the fact that ArtReview’s PR people are constantly barking at it to make sure the list is very diff erent every year in order to provide a news story for the press.
Still, Eddie did slip into the role of prophet at the end of his article, shrugging on his ceremonial robes, rotating his eyeballs back in their sockets until only the whites were showing, channelling the Bard, striking the pose of the soothsayer from Julius Caesar, shuddering epileptically and wailing that this was ‘the last time that a list that is not fully global will seem in the least convincing’. ‘The Chinese!’ he howled slobberingly. It was all a bit much for ArtReview, and so, just to teach him his place and learn him that it is always several steps ahead of the staff , ArtReview placed his article opposite a page featuring a Swiss, a Frenchman, a couple of Venezuelans, a Chinese and an American. ‘Fuck you and your mystical mumbo jumbo’, ArtReview thought to itself.
Naturally every other page featured the traditional bunch of white Anglo-Saxon males. Among those new to the gang were William Ruprecht (7), the new guy at Sotheby’s; Robert Storr (9), ‘the quiet intellectual’ who was ‘surprisingly understated for the heavyweight curator and thinker that he is’ (although he didn’t look that fat in his photograph); casino baron Steve Wynn (16); newly anointed art-fair tycoons Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover (32), emerging in hot pursuit of the master, Art Basel’s Samuel Keller, now number 5 on the list and apparently confusing people with his art fairs that looked like ‘museum-quality installations’. Joining the newbies were artists Richard Serra (23), Olafur Eliasson (29), Jasper Johns (33), John Currin (37), Neo Rauch (41), William Eggleston (56) and, at number 99, an artist-run project called e-fl ux, although ArtReview must have run out of funds by the time it got this far down the list, as its employees couldn’t fi nd out which artists they were.
Meanwhile, in the wealthier region of the list, Ronald ‘the elegance’ Lauder had slipped to number 8 (looking at his picture, we assume it must have been as a result of the less-than-elegant stubble he was now sporting), while the previous year’s number 4, art dealer Larry Gagosian, was now number 1. ‘A figure of mystery and controversy’, ArtReview hissed, doing its best to present a less hysterical incarnation of soothsayer Eddie. ‘You don’t get canonised for being the world’s greatest art businessman’, wrote former employee Daniel Kunitz, slipping seamlessly into ArtReview’s preferred tone of inoffensive nonsense, ‘you get power’. After which he slipped on a baseball hat, flipped it backwards, insisted that ArtReview refer to him as Turbo B and jiggled his legs and arms while mouthing the words to a classic piece of Eurodance by Snap!
It may have been the Year of the Rooster to some one billion three hundred million Chinese, but 2005 was the Year of the Artist to the hundred or so readers who were scanning ArtReview’s world-famous and much admired power list to find out where they’d placed. ArtReview knows they all check to see if they’re number 1, and when they did, they would have found that Damien Hirst had hit the afterburners and raced from number 78 to the top spot quicker than a monkey with a stick of dynamite up its ass. The first artist to receive the honour, Hirst stuck his fingers in his mouth, went cross-eyed with pleasure and gurned for the cover shoot. And what did ArtReview give him in return? Immortality, of course. That’s what any powerful person most desires. ‘Damien Hirst will never die’, squawked Sarah Thornton as she hailed the new-crowned king.
Meanwhile, ArtReview contractor and power expert Marc Spiegler contributed a summary of the previous year in art. He marvelled at the £11.1 million sale of the fixtures and fittings from Hirst’s failed Pharmacy restaurant (replica ashtrays in an unlimited edition selling for £1,600); his mind boggled at the ‘Machiavellian’ attempts by Tate to circumvent dealers; he was awed by the raw ambition of MoMA; and gobsmacked at Thomas Krens’s ousting of Guggenheim board members; but delighted at the money raised by contemporary art auctions. Meanwhile Spiegler (future director of Art Basel), it turned out, had made it into German magazine Monopol’s much less important power list because of his skills as a compiler of power lists. ArtReview was suitably flattered.
Elsewhere, Charles Saatchi had had a ‘very successful year’ and dropped two places to number 19, and ArtReview had ‘discovered’ Bruce Nauman (a new entry at number 9) following his installation in Tate’s Turbine Hall. Among its other discoveries were Richard Prince (22), Paul McCarthy (37) and Marlene Dumas (45), who, along with Louise Bourgeois, was one of only two living women artists whose work had sold for more than £1m. More saucily, ArtReview had its eye on the dashing Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s star auctioneer and a ‘charming Austrian’ with his own eye on ‘big ticket art’ (26). Its other eye had been tracking Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona Blazwick, who had ‘moved gracefully into the Power 100’ at number 67. But ArtReview was by now getting bored of art people and supplemented its list with sidebars on architects and pop stars – the people it really wanted to be running art. It swooned over David Bowie’s Modern British collection, whimpered at David Geff en’s newly purchased Johnses and Pollocks, and fidgeted bashfully in its seat while musing about Madonna’s collection of Diego Riveras, Frida Kahlos and Tina Modottis, before baffling its readers by describing how architects were ‘increasingly caught up in powerfully vague creative forces’ and cryptically concluding that tomorrow’s architects would be Situationists. At which point ArtReview erected barricades at its East London headquarters and wandered off on a dérive around London’s pubs in search of Austrian charmers and graceful movers.
Having discovered the secret of immortality and selflessly donated it to the 2005 power king, ArtReview decided to continue its quest for a more spiritual understanding of power and spent 2006 mainly reading The Thirty-Six Stratagems of Lord Tán. (Although, despite that Lord Tán business and much like ArtReview’s power entries, no one’s quite sure who really wrote the stratagems or even if it was one person – perhaps it was Sun Tzu or Zhuge Liang, or maybe even Gallery Girl in a previous life. But as all you powerphiliacs know, speculation is pointless. The truth isn’t out there.) Meanwhile…
With its nose buried in a pile of Lord Tán, ArtReview was immediately attracted to stratagems number 4 (‘loot a burning house’), which sounded the most fun, and number 8 (‘openly repair the gallery roads, but sneak through the passage of Chencang’), which appeared to be the most applicable to the business ‘strategy’ that ArtReview’s publisher was demanding it adopt. But ultimately ArtReview was most enamoured of number 5: ‘make a sound in the east, then strike in the west’. For those of you who don’t yet speak Mandarin, that translates as the art of surprise.
Which is precisely the art that ArtReview deployed on its new edition: no longer would the most powerful of the powerful glower masterfully at readers from beneath ArtReview’s logo. Instead ArtReview asked Mark Titchner to make a sound in the east (by creating a bespoke artwork for the power cover), while it surprised its readers from the west (by revealing the anointed one only to those who could be bothered to open the magazine).
‘Is Art Power?’ howled Titchner’s cover. “Who’s number one?” shrieked the confused and cubicled dealers and artworld types as ArtReview went about its annual trudge through the Frieze Art Fair. As it saw their eyes staring cluelessly at its cover, ArtReview knew all that time in study of Lord Tán’s lessons had been fruitful. “Look to the west”, ArtReview replied in a mystic tone that it had learned from careful study of blind Master Po from TV’s Kung Fu. Before losing its Buddhalike calm as the dealers’ eyes continued their brainless boggle and screaming: “For fuck’s sake, you lazy bastards, ask your assistant to turn it to page 60!”
There ArtReview’s readers would fi nd the grinning visage of French supercollector and auction-house owner François Pinault, to some ‘an insatiable omnivore who sends out fleets of art advisers like deep-sea fishing trawlers, scooping and buying every species of artwork in their path’, to others ‘a tireless devotee of contemporary art who keeps the market lively and buoyant’. ArtReview clearly liked the sound of both.
Drunk on immortality, Damien Hirst had toppled over to number 11. ‘As I get older, I think it would be great if young artists thought I was cool’, he muttered, even as ArtReview slapped him round the face and reminded him that thanks to its munificence he’d never get old. A few pages later, Andreas Gursky (22) joined the ranks of power thanks to his 99 Cent (1999) having broken the auction record for contemporary photography. Meanwhile, ArtReview’s latest flame, Whitney curator Donna De Salvo, who appeared at number 30 on the list, alongside her equally well loved coworkers Shamim Momin and Chrissie Iles, obliged it with the perfect power quote: ‘As a curator I strive to represent the full potential and power of art itself ’ – a meaningless muddle of words that ArtReview would have been proud to have written itself.
Just to remind everyone that despite the seriousness of its power game ArtReview enjoyed a laugh as much as the next magazine, it installed Google at number 100. ‘Who is number one on the Power 100?’ ArtReview asked it. ‘I never build only one of anything important. All important systems will have redundant control panels and power supplies. For the same reason I will always carry two fully loaded weapons at all times.’ At which point ArtReview closed its list, flung The Stratagems in the bin and vowed only to ask Google about the important things in life.
2007: The East
As Lord Tán’s stratagems gathered dust in the bin, ArtReview set out another demonstration of how it had surpassed any ‘lesson’ the so-called old masters had to teach it. After all, everyone knows that ArtReview is all about the moment, the contemporary. And so, as its legions of adoring fans waited with bated breath to see who would be declared centurion of its cohort of power, ArtReview decided to add a twist – a refinement of Tán’s art of surprise. “Make a sound in the east, then strike in the east,” it shrieked. And lo, François Pinault was number one. Again.
And thus, ArtReview confused everyone – but mostly its PR people, who kept frantically phoning and pretending that “make a sound in the east, then strike in the east” didn’t make much sense to the people who had received the power press release. “None of the top four have changed – it makes perfect sense”, ArtReview howled in righteous rage. But still the PR people complained, demanding that the glorious list have a “story” to it that could be “spun” and “peddled” to other media outlets. “Stories?” ArtReview replied. “Get on your bikes and go pedal these.”
In 2007 ArtReview discovered India – collector Anupam Poddar slipped onto the list at number 100, auction house impresario Neville Tuli was one step ahead, and artist Subodh Gupta made himself at home at number 85. ‘If Indian artists are the next big thing, then Subodh Gupta has a lot to look forward to,’ ArtReview declared in one of its tautological-nonsense specials. Three years later there were no Indians on the list.
The real story of 2007 had to do with the rise of the collector. When they weren’t collecting things, they were running the museums on whose boards they sat; founding their own museums so that they could be more ‘open’ about running things; receiving tributes from the auction houses and galleries who bought and sold their chattels; and inviting their newfound artist-friends to come on holiday with them.
All of which meant that collectors occupied a whopping 31 percent of the list; new to the party were Belgians Guy and Myriam Ullens (97), Korea’s Kim Chang-il (87), Iranian Ebrahim Melamed (82), Brits Muriel and Freddie Salem (81), Portugal’s José ‘just call me Joe’ Berardo (75), New York-based real-estate developer Aby Rosen (70), and hedge-fund ‘billionaire’ Adam Sender (66). ‘He will be buying art for years to come’, ArtReview squawked of this newest arrival as it proudly polished its crystal ball, all the while hoping that no one would realise that it was merely parroting a hysterical statement issued to Businessweek by Sender’s fearful curator after the collector offloaded a chunk of his holdings at auction and at a profit. Sense? This is art. None of it makes sense. Have you learned nothing?
Meanwhile, HSBC was writing down its holdings of something called a ‘subprime mortgage’ by $10.5 billion and all ArtReview’s friends were muttering stuff about commodities being the true ‘stores of value’. The immortal Damien Hirst (number 6) seemed to have taken that advice to heart, having spent much of the year gluing diamonds onto a skull and then ‘selling’ it for £50 million. But ArtReview didn’t care. As long as it had enough credit to carry on downloading Sugababes videos every 15 minutes, this was the best of all possible worlds.
On 15 September 2008, while Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy despite holding over $600 billion in assets, Damien Hirst began a two-day auction of new work at Sotheby’s, London. By the end of the next day he’d raised £111 million and assured himself of top spot on ArtReview’s glamour list.
‘A spectacular coup’, ArtReview trilled as it carefully pasted a picture of Hirst’s head onto a photograph of its former king of coups – Central African Republic ‘emperor’ Jean-Bédel Bokassa. Much of ArtReview’s admiration for the immortal one came about because, while taking work straight to auction seemed to be a kind of democratisation of the art market – ‘anyone’ who had enough money could buy into Hirst without having to suck up to his dealers first – the operation was something far closer to the acts of benevolent dictatorship by which ArtReview rules its own world. Hirst’s London dealer, Jay Jopling, was rumoured to be the underbidder on some of the more expensive lots during the sale, while other rumours suggested that Hirst and Jopling were members of the consortium that had bought For the Love of God (2007), the artist’s jewel-encrusted
Indeed tricksiness seemed to be the theme of the year. Hirst had appeared on the cover of Time magazine dressed as Bono beside the headline squealing ‘Artist As Rock Star’ and, confusingly, an explanatory blurb that mentioned nothing at all about Bono, or even rock. Meanwhile, in some sort of pale imitation of the great man, Jose, Alberto and David Mugrabi (43) sent in a photo of Alberto (but not Jose or David) with Harry Lis (a collector not on the list) to ‘represent’ them on ArtReview’s power list, new entrant Liam Gillick was the 86th most powerful person in art because he’d managed to trick some Germans into letting him ‘represent’ their country at the next Venice Biennale despite being British. And comedy Christian artist Thomas Kinkade had made it to number 100 by virtue of having allegedly peed over Winnie the Pooh during a visit to Disneyland. Most confusing of all, François Pinault had slipped down to number 8 on ArtReview’s list, prompting it to offer a mild apology: ‘Number 8? Who are we kidding?’
2009: The Message
“Anyone can do a lot; not everyone can do a lot and do it consistently well”, ArtReview barked at one of its grovelling contributors while jabbing its finger towards its own chest sometime around the beginning of 2009. “Even fewer can keep doing it well, year upon year”, it bellowed as the contributor shuffled backwards away from ArtReview’s throne, never once taking his eyes off the majestic leader.
Clearly the message sunk in. By the end of the year, the contributor was using ArtReview’s exact words to describe Hans Ulrich Obrist, who had risen 34 places up the list to become the newly crowned king of power and the first curator to attain such a station. However, ArtReview was forced to schedule its contributor for remedial therapy in its newly constructed korrektur anlager for adding the words ‘and of those who can, nobody does more, better, than Hans Ulrich Obrist’. Philosopher and that year’s Venice Biennale director Daniel Birnbaum had breached the top 5 (at number 4), while the e-flux crew, nameless in 2004, had been identified as Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda and Brian Kuan Wood (after half a decade of painstaking and meticulous research by ArtReview’s miserable contributor) and popped out of nowhere into the top 10 (at number 8). The new-look top 10 also featured Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona Blazwick at number 9 – ‘Blazwick is a shrewd power operator’, the contributor wrote; ‘she gave Damien Hirst his first major show and once declared that the massive Tate Modern Turbine Hall “was in fact just a rehearsal” for her plans for the [much smaller] Whitechapel’. Much to ArtReview’s disappointment, and despite Blazwick having dropped such a hefty hint, no one has since attempted to muscle her way into its favour an onto its power chart by diminishing or slagging off the opposition. Schande über dich.
Elsewhere, Bruce Nauman (10) had become the most important artist on the planet following his installation at the US Pavilion in Venice, while Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, ‘masters of deadpan enquiry into the everyday’, were a new entry at 19. After Liam Gillick (now at 34) made it onto the list for being a not-German German, a number of actual Germans made it on, including artist Isa Genzken (38) and critics Diedrich Diederichsen (46) and Isabelle Graw (70). Anyone would have thought that ArtReview had spent the past 12 months trying to learn German or something. But just to prove that it treated all languages and beliefs equally, ArtReview had the voice of the American right, Glenn Beck, at number 100, after his tirades against the US’s National Endowment for the Arts and its ‘progressive sympathies’. Schweinhund.
In the aftermath of his 2009 appearance, Glenn Beck was moved to devote a section of his radio show to ArtReview’s marvellous list. “It’s this very dangerous thing that these people are playing with”, Beck whispered as the whole of America clustered eagerly around their sets, copies of ArtReview clutched in their sweaty little hands. And indeed, despite the fact that ArtReview now floats around the Frieze Art Fair disguised as a former editor of Artforum, it’s got the bruises to show it. “It’s almost like the Nobel Prize,” Beck continued. But better, Glenn – much, much better.
For which understatement ArtReview arranged to have Beck removed from the list, get his TV show cancelled and have him deported to Israel.
You see, despite what ArtReview’s manic PR people, with their insistence on using words like ‘surprise’, ‘shock’ and ‘amazement’ every time a new Power 100 comes along, would have you believe, ArtReview’s list is about consistent excellence. And when it comes to consistency of power, no one has achieved more of it than American gallerist Larry Gagosian. He’s spent only one year (the first) out of the top five. Indeed, if the list were about gallerists alone, he’d undoubtedly be number one every year. In 2010 he was back on the top of the pile. In fact, gallerists as a group were on the rise, with Iwan Wirth at number 3 and David Zwirner at number 4. Hans Ulrich Obrist was marooned yet unblinking at number 2.
In other news, the long-promised ‘rise’ of China began to amount to more than a slight swelling. The highest-ranked artist on the list was Ai Weiwei (13). ‘Is he in danger of overexposure?’ ArtReview quipped at the end of his entry – on the face of it a reference to the many shows (culminating with an installation at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall) the artist was then involved with, but for the true art connoisseur actually an oblique reference to the fact that the artist took all his clothes off when ArtReview photographed him for its cover in May 2008, leaving it with a tricky typographical problem when it came to placing the dots on the ‘i’s in his name. In Ai’s wake came Art Hong Kong director Magnus Renfrew, who joined the list at 92, having made his art fair one of the prime trade shows in the art calendar, while collector, patron and Art Hong Kong adviser Richard Chang was a new entry at 98 and on his way to becoming one of the gatekeepers to East–West relations.
Meanwhile, for the entertainment of its beloved readers, ArtReview thoughtfully provided photographs of Marina Abramovic (35) seductively spilling milk over the floor of an otherwise spotless Georgian interior and Lisson Gallery’s Nicholas Logsdail (48) cackling madly over an On Kawara catalogue. If nothing else, you see, these past ten years have been very entertaining.