Bloomberg News

Ai Weiwei Tops Annual Power 100 Art List as Hirst, Koons Slide

October 12, 2011

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and activist who was imprisoned for 81 days earlier this year, topped ArtReview’s annual ranking of the 100 most influential people in the art world, the Power 100, published today.

The Beijing-based artist -- who last year paved Tate Modern’s monumental Turbine Hall with 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds -- “was ranked number one as a result of his activism as much as his art practice,” London-based ArtReview said in an e-mailed release, noting that artists no longer worked in “a privileged zone” defined by galleries or museums.

Every year, timed to coincide with London’s Frieze Art Fair, Art Review gathers an international panel of art-world professionals to pick the 100 most influential people in their field. Last year’s Power 100 topper, international art dealer Larry Gagosian, ranked fourth this year.

In second position on this year’s list were Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones, co-directors of London’s Serpentine Gallery. Obrist came second also last year, and in 2009 he was at the top of the list.

Losing ground were contemporary artists Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, whose auction prices have suffered since 2009. Hirst -- who was No. 1 in 2005 and 2008 -- fell to No. 64 (from No. 53 last year). Koons slipped to 66 from 47.

By contrast, artist Gerhard Richter -- whose retrospective at London’s Tate Modern just opened -- soared to No. 11 from No. 55.

Other high-scoring museum directors were the Museum of Modern Art’s Glenn D. Lowry, at No. 3, and Tate’s Nicholas Serota, at No. 6.

--Editors: Mark Beech, Adam Majendie.

To contact the writer on this story: Farah Nayeri in London Farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.


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