You may recall, not long ago, I posted about ten of the most powerful names in the art world today. That was the mere tip of the iceberg. There are many names of note who control the tides of art in 2017 and beyond. From curators to gallerists, patrons of the arts and artists themselves, these are the players calling the shots and making the scene. As a working artist it is up to you to know who the influencers in your chosen field are. Just as in any discipline, understanding things from the top down can give you an advantage when it comes to understanding where things are now and where they are going. Take some time to get to know these luminaries. Their names and careers should be part of your vernacular. And now, without further ado, here are your next 10 in the line of artistic nobility today.
10. Sir Nichlas Serota: This Londoner’s CV reads like a bucket list of museums and galleries in the UK placing him firmly on our list of top London curators. He is former director of Tate galleries and museums, former director of Whitechapel Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, and has sat on the jury for the Turner Prize. In 2016, he was appointed as the new Chair of Arts Council England.
9. Beatrix Ruf: In 2012, Ruf was named one of the most influential people in the art world by ArtReview. Her career has spanned decades during which she has acted as curator, director, board member, editor, and more. Past posts include Kusthalle Zurich where she served as director. These days she is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands where she is director of The Stedelijk Museum.
8. Okwui Enwezor: If this name rings a bell, it may be because he was included in our post about the top ten curators in the world today. Enwezor not only holds influence within the curatorial world, but also the wider art world itself. The Nigerian-born curator serves as director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, adjunct curator of the International Center of Photography in New York, and holds a fellowship at the Whitney Museum in New York.
7. Maja Hoffman: Born to a pharmaceutical magnate family in Switzerland, Hoffman is a patron of the arts as well as a collector. She is also a documentarian and the founder of LUMA Foundation, a non-profit that assists and supports those working in the arts, publishing, and documentary film making.
6. Sheika Hoor Al-Qasimi: Arab-born Al-Qasimi is the founder and president of Sharjah Art Foundation. An artist in her own right, her organization seeks to support the work of Arab and international artists through exhibition, including their own biennial. Al-Qasimi is credited with playing a major role in the cultural renaissance of the United Arab Emirates.
5. Marina Abramovic: The venerable performance artists, known for her duration pieces, is also a powerful force in the art world at large. In 2010 Abramovic launched her duration piece The Artist is Present at MoMA in New York in which she sat facing an empty chair that museum goers were invited to fill. Lady Gaga drew widespread attention to the piece and the result was an influx of viewers coming in to sit with Abramovic. She has founded the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) intended to be her legacy. The institute, in their own words, “explores, supports, and presents performance.”
4. Richard Chang: A powerful art collector, Chang is also a conduit between the Asian and American art communities. He serves as Trustee for such luminous institutions as the Whitney Museum, Royal Academy in London, and MOMA PS1. In 2008, Chang founded the DOMUS Collection through which he seeks a cross cultural dialog between Asian and American culture and art.
3. Christine Tohme: Tohme is a Lebanese curator and founding director of The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts. Known as Ashkal Alwan, the organization, founded in the aftermath of the Lebanese War, seeks to support emerging Lebanese artists and help them exhibit their work. Tohme is also responsible for Home Workspace in Beirut, a space for practice and education.
2. Massimo De Carlo: Massimo De Carlo is a gallery owner with over 30 years in the art business. He has galleries in Milan, London, and most recently Hong Kong. He was formerly on the selection committee for Art Basel, Hong Kong and focuses on finding unique artists both in Italy and internationally.
1. Walid Raad: Living and working in New York City, this Lebanese artist has a firm foothold in the international art scene. Raad is an associate professor at Cooper Union School of Art as well as a member of the Arab Image Foundation. His own works include The Atlas Group which is a fictional collective producing works of art all by Raad himself. Much of his work is with video and photography.