The German art magazine monopoly has published its annual list of the 100 people it considers most important in the contemporary art world. One of the first rankings of its kind this year, the magazine’s picks give a first indication of who’s stood out in a year of success and controversy.
Supported by an advisory board of experts, the magazine discarded objective measures such as auctions in favor of assessing “impact and visibility”. The list varies greatly from year to year; Only Marc Spiegler (10), whose next step is being closely watched after his recent resignation as Global Director of Art Basel, and the Indonesian curatorial collective Ruangrupa (2) have made it monopoly‘s top 10 in both 2021 and 2022.
“Of course, a magazine from Accra or New Delhi would have a different focus,” said the magazine’s editors. “We see this list primarily as a contribution to the debate and as a homage to all the people who live art every day and make it tangible.”
So who made it this year?
First up is Nan Goldin, a reliable favorite among art power lists in recent years thanks to her vigorous activism against the art world’s embrace by the Sackler family, art patrons who amassed much of their wealth from the sale of heavily addicted making opioid pain reliever Oxycontin.
Their protests have been staged in museums since 2018, but this long struggle has only recently made some major strides. That year the British Museum, the National Gallery and the V&A, all in London, announced that they were removing the Sackler name from their galleries.
Perhaps more surprising is the inclusion of the climate protesters (19), who since spring have made endless headlines for their own museum activism, going so far as to glue themselves to frames or attack masterpieces by artists like Van Gogh, Vermeer and Monet with soup or mashed potatoes. Even though monopoly When asked if their tactics made sense, she concluded that they “emphasize the value of art to society.”
When the Ruangrupa collective took fourth place last year for their radical rethinking of the curatorial body ahead of this year’s Documenta 15 in Kassel, no one could have foreseen the controversy that would beset the exhibition. They certainly remained influential and visible, and were promoted to second place this year. It is not surprising that Meron Mendel, head of the Anne Frank Education Center, came in 8th place, since she was hired to deal with the anti-Semitism controversy.
Certainly indicative of fashion’s growing influence in the art world, Balenciaga’s Georgian creative director Demna came in fourteenth. The list cited his bold and provocative ideas, including dedicating the fashion house’s winter 2022 collection to refugees, a concept based on his own experiences, and the mud pit runway at Paris Fashion Week, which went viral just last month.
Hot on his heels was Miuccia Prada (15), just ahead of the artist Hito Steyerl (16) and the dealers Iwan and Manuela Wirth (17); The fashion designer played a big part this year with a series of impressive shows at her inception in Milan and also during the Venice Biennale at her Lagoon Palace.
Art collector Bernard Arnault, who is responsible for the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, landed at number 71, perhaps because of widespread rumors that his luxury empire LVMH will take over the mega-gallery Gagosian.
Other high-profile figures include the artist Francis Alÿs (3), who represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale. The curator of the Biennial exhibition “The Milk of Dreams”, Cecilia Alemani, achieved fourth place. American performance artist Joan Jonas came in 5th (certainly due to her major poll at Haus der Kunst in Munich, which opened this fall). Max Hollein, director of the Met, came sixth, and sculptor Simone Leigh, who represented the US at the Venice Biennale, was listed at number seven.
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