Hackney vs Mayfair Artlyst’s Alternative Power 100 Disrupts Art Review Institution

Sir Nicholas Serota, has been honoured on this year’s Art Review Power 100 list by achieving the top slot. Serota has sequentially appeared in the top ten of the list since 2002, when it was first launched. On the other side of the fence, the Artlyst Alternative Power 100 Lyst places Grayson Perry at the top. The Powerlyst has grown from strength to strength since it first appeared four years ago and this version has received over 100,000 views, since it was published last week. It was side by side in  today’s Independent Newspaper  as a reliable alternative authority, celebrating artistic achievement alone, “instead of the Machiavellian AR Power List that seems to share more in common with the Times ‘Rich List”.

This year’s Art Review Power 100 list was compiled by a 26-member international jury, is also marked by an increasingly porous boundary between the public and private sectors of the artworld, with the public sector attempting to acquire the business sense of the private, and the private sector attempting to recreate the business-neutral atmosphere of the public. Alongside this, the list reflects the continuing internationalisation of contemporary art, via the presence of an increasingly diverse collection of curators. Demonstrating that the old can sometimes be the new new, American painter Christopher Wool (no 55) is one of the highest new entries on the list as a result of the influence the 59-year-old exerts on a younger generation of artists who are currently fuelling the auction fires. And for the first time since 2005 art advisers, in the form of Allan Schwartzman and Amy Cappellazzo (joint no 70), make an appearance in the power ranks – testimony perhaps to the fact that no single person can be everywhere, seeing everything that the artworld has to offer, all of the time. Accompanying the Power 100 list is an interview with veteran arts journalist Calvin Tomkins on his friend Marcel Duchamp, arguably the founder of the artworld we have today; overviews of the Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern art scenes that question how Westernised they need to be; a wistful speculation on what a Power 100 that factored in morality as a criterion might look like and an essay on the blurred distinction between public and private art institutions. The list also features photo portfolios of members of this year’s Power 100 reading their favourite books or magazines.

ArtReview’s Power 100 provides a subjective and increasingly narrow snapshot of the contemporary art scene as it stands today. The AR Power 100 has been criticised by Artlyst in the Independent newspaper as  “erroneous and tired, with a criteria based on ‘sheer financial clout.’ It is dominated by commercial gallery owners, big-buck artists, and misguided auctioneers”. An up-to-date analysis of the true meaning of power in the contemporary art world is what they would like to aspire to but all falls flat in terms of the criteria which it is based upon. The ranking of figures is supposedly compiled by an invited international panel, with entrants judged on their international influence over the production of art and their contribution to the artworld during the past 12 months.

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