Art magazine to artists: Drop dead


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The brain trust over at London’s ArtReview magazine wants you to know that artists no longer matter very much. For the first time since it began publishing the Power 100, a subjective annual ranking of who counts in the international art world, at least as seen from its offices in the vicinity of Fleet Street, no artists made the top 10.

None. Zero. Zip.


In fact, no artists made the top 12 -- henceforth to be known as the Dirty Dozen -- while a grand total of just three of the top 25 slots are filled by artists. The rest, as my colleague Jori Finkel noted (in a short article long on jaundice) are big-deal dealers, collectors, curators and museum directors.

Here’s how ArtReview explains the Power 100 (‘in association with Dom Perignon’), which the magazine has ground out since 2002:

‘Entrants are ranked according to a combination of influence over the production of art internationally, sheer financial clout (although in these times that’s no longer such a big factor) and activity in the previous 12 months –- criteria which encompass artists, of course, as well as collectors, gallerists and curators.’

Presumably, that ‘of course’ is appended after the word ‘artists’ just for effect. Artists have always been barely acknowledged in the higher reaches of the Power 100, never getting more than one or two nods.

Last year, an artist hung on by his fingernails to the No. 10 spot, the only one to make the highest cut (this year he slid to No. 17). In 2010, it’s worse. Apparently, the magazine believes that artists don’t exert much influence over the production of art internationally anymore, while financial clout, even in straightened circumstances, and something known as activity do.

Long live the market and marketing. ‘Of course,’ artists don’t buy ads in art magazines, which puts them at a disadvantage here. But have they also given up champagne?

-- Christopher Knight

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