artnet Titans: The Most Powerful People in the Art World, Part III

The grand finale.

Nicholas Serota during a press conference at the Tate Modern on June 14, 2016 in London, England. Courtesy of Jack Taylor/Getty Images.
Nicholas Serota during a press conference at the Tate Modern on June 14, 2016 in London, England. Courtesy of Jack Taylor/Getty Images.

Power in our rapidly expanding global art world comes in many forms. There’s creativity which pushes past formal boundaries, influence which can often convince cultural agents to do its bidding, and wealth which, while greasing the wheels of artistic enterprise, is also capable of changing all the iron rules into rubber bands—to quote novelist Ryszard Kapuscinski.

Today, financial power—as expressed in ever-rising multimillion dollar, pound sterling and renminbi sums—remains very much the dominant force in the art world. As Phillips CEO Edward Dolman told Bloomberg in January, the growth of the art world continues apace, even amid a global economic downturn. He and other auction experts have consequently characterized the recent decline in auction sales not as a “correction” but, more optimistically, as a “consolidation.”

Where is that financial power coming from then, you ask? The answer is from a marked increase in the number of high net-worth individuals in Asia. According to economist was Clare McAndrew, the results of the artnet and China Association of Auctioneers (CAA) annual report are telling: “The Asia Pacific region is hugely important for the art market, and now it’s the biggest center of high net worth wealth in the world.” Notably, this is the principal reason artnet News has selected the region as this year’s area of Focus for it’s 2016 list of artnet Titans.

Taken together, artnet’s roundup of the Titans of the art world—a list made up of artists, patrons, curators, museum directors, educators, and auction house professionals—are a geographically diverse but remarkably inventive lot. Separately, these notables exhibit a penchant for innovative thinking within their respective professional arenas.

The hundred names on this once-in-a-season power list make one thing clear above all: They are each major players in an increasingly integrated if far-flung art world.

German painter Gerhard Richter poses in front of his work "Ella" on February 25, 2015 at the Albertinum museum in Dresden. Courtesy of ARNO BURGI/AFP/Getty Images.

German painter Gerhard Richter poses in front of his work “Ella” on February 25, 2015 at the Albertinum museum in Dresden. Courtesy of ARNO BURGI/AFP/Getty Images.

67. Gerhard Richter
Nationality: Germany
Category: Artist
Single Line Identifier: According to his colleagues (and a Vanity Fair straw poll conducted among one hundred of the planet’s “art worthies”), the painter is the artistic genius of our age.
Quote: Every now and then—actually no, always—there are people who will have real feelings for [my art]. That’s why it’s difficult when I go to the home of a collector and then next to my work in a room hangs some heinous artwork and I think to myself “How can the man do that?”

Jeffrey Seller, Yvonne Force Villareal, Josh Lehrer, Thaddaeus Ropac==Frieze Art Fair==Randall's Island Park, NYC==May 04, 2016==©Patrick McMullan==Photo - Sean Zanni/PMC====

Thaddaeus Ropac at Frieze Art Fair in 2016. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Sean Zanni/PMC.

68. Thaddaeus Ropac
Nationality: Austria
Category: Art Dealer
Single Line Identifier: Once called “the Prince of Paris,” the gallerist now has spaces in Salzburg, Paris, and London.
Quote: “We don’t sell art, we place art.”

Aby Rosen. Courtesy of Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan.

Aby Rosen. Courtesy of Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan.

69. Aby Rosen
Nationality: US
Category: Patron
Single Line Identifier: A New York real estate mogul, Rosen is a major art collector and auction house presence.
Quote: “I love art, period.”

Lorenzo Rudolf, Maria Elena Rudolf in 2009. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of JP Pullos/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Lorenzo Rudolf, Maria Elena Rudolf in 2009. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of JP Pullos/PatrickMcMullan.com.

70. Lorenzo Rudolf
Nationality: Switzerland
Category: Art Fair Director
Single Line Identifier: An art fair veteran, Rudolf served as the director of Art Basel from 1991 to 2000, helped initiate Art Basel’s expansion to Miami in 2002 and is currently the founder and president of Art Stage Singapore and Art Stage Jakarta (his wife, Maria Elena Rudolf, is vice president of Art Stage Singapore).
Quote: “A consequence of globalization is that we have increasingly similar values all over the world. It is no longer education that gives you the highest standing; today, it is wealth, a ‘value’ that is all over the world not dependent on a specific language or culture.”

Beatrix Ruf at the 2014 Frieze New York Art Fair in 2014 in New York City. Courtesy of Michael Stewart/Getty Images.

Beatrix Ruf at the 2014 Frieze New York Art Fair in 2014 in New York City. Courtesy of Michael Stewart/Getty Images.

71. Beatrix Ruf
Nationality: Germany
Category: Museum Director
Single Line Identifier: Power curator and a tastemaker, the current Director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is known for having jump-started the careers of a number of internationally known artists.
Quote: “Good artists are always the ones that may not have a vision into the future, but who are able to condense thinking about the contemporary reality.”

Mera Rubell, Don Rubell at Performa in 2014. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Clint Spaulding/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Mera Rubell, Don Rubell at Performa in 2014. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Clint Spaulding/PatrickMcMullan.com.

72. Don and Mera Rubell
Nationality: US
Category: Patrons
Single Line Identifier: Emerging artist patrons and founders The Rubell Foundation.
Quote: “We never buy just one single work by an artist because we are all about telling a story. How do you tell a story with just one work?”

Nicholas Serota during a press conference at the Tate Modern on June 14, 2016 in London, England. Courtesy of Jack Taylor/Getty Images.

Nicholas Serota during a press conference at the Tate Modern on June 14, 2016 in London, England. Courtesy of Jack Taylor/Getty Images.

73. Nicholas Serota
Nationality: UK
Category: Museum Director
Single Line Identifier: The head of Britain’s four Tate museums and galleries for three decades recently announced his departure to become the next chairman of The Arts Council England.
Quote: “When I go, the role [of Director of Tate] itself will not change. The trustees are absolutely committed to the idea of eventually appointing someone with a curatorial background who will drive the public-service ethos of the institution rather than just run it.”

Solange Knowles, Jack Shainman in 2015. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Sean Zanni /PMC.

Solange Knowles, Jack Shainman in 2015. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Sean Zanni /PMC.

74. Jack Shainman
Nationality: US
Category: Art Dealer
Single Line Identifier: The New York gallerist has a found a durable global niche by showing African American and African artists while building a massive Kunsthalle in upstate New York.
Quote: “I consistently advocate for my artists, and it can be years before the reward or acclaim comes.”

Cindy Sherman at Guild Hall Summer Gala in 2016. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan/PMC.

Cindy Sherman at Guild Hall Summer Gala in 2016. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan/PMC.

75. Cindy Sherman
Nationality: US
Category: Artist
Single Line Identifier: The artist’s photographic acts of self-presentation have won most every artistic laurel, while recasting her medium very much in her own likeness
Quote: “When I first started this series, I thought ‘God, this is the last time I do this.’ I’m so sick of using myself, how much more can I try to change myself?”

Yemisi Shyllon in Lagos in 2008. Courtesy of PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images.

Yemisi Shyllon in Lagos in 2008. Courtesy of PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images.

76. Yemisi Shyllon
Nationality: Nigeria
Category: Patron
Single Line Identifier: The Yoruba Prince is the founder of the Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation, which houses what many estimate to be largest art collection in Africa.
Quote: “It is a glorious obsession. It goes from interest to passion and passion to obsession until you are buying artwork at every auction and you have to build new storage spaces just to house your art collection.”

Victoria Siddall. Photo by Linda Nylind, Courtesy Frieze

Victoria Siddall. Photo by Linda Nylind, Courtesy of Frieze.

77. Victoria Siddall
Nationality: UK
Category: Art Fair Director
Single Line Identifier: Director of Frieze art fairs.
Quote: “We’re not going to rush into just doing lots and lots of art fairs. If we did it, it would be because we could do something really, really fantastic—different than anything else that exists.”

Stefan Simchowitz, actor/producer Orlando Bloom and artist Petra Cortright in 2015. Courtesy of Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for Depart Foundation.

Stefan Simchowitz, actor Orlando Bloom and artist Petra Cortright in 2015. Courtesy of Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for Depart Foundation.

78. Stefan Simchowitz
Nationality: South Africa
Category: Art Dealer/Advisor
Single Line Identifier: Publicity-hungry advisor, dealer, flipper, and advocate for young artists has emerged as a figure of both admiration and loathing
Quote: “All you have is essentially fake markets with cool people in the VIP section of the nightclub being able to order the champagne and everyone else has to wait outside in the freezing cold. That’s bullshit!”

Franklin Sirmans at 2015 MOCA GALA. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of DAVID CROTTY/patrickmcmullan.com.

Franklin Sirmans at 2015 MOCA GALA. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of DAVID CROTTY/patrickmcmullan.com.

79. Franklin Sirmans
Nationality: US
Category: Museum Director
Single Line Identifier: Head of the Miami’s Perez Art Museum from whom art overs and the public at large are expecting great things
Quote: “The museum in the twenty-first century is not the museum of the twentieth. Can we bridge our viewers between those times? I think, yes!”

Tad Smith at Gangs of New York Gala Honoring Haim Steinbach and Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler in 2015. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Sean Zanni/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Tad Smith at Gangs of New York Gala Honoring Haim Steinbach and Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler in 2015. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Sean Zanni/PatrickMcMullan.com.

80. Tad Smith
Nationality: US
Category: Auction House
Single Line Identifier: The ex-Madison Square Garden CEO became the head of Sotheby’s in 2015, to the surprise of some art dealers
Quote: “All of our clients are stepping up to buy things they really want that are high quality items that are fresh. They are being more careful on where they spend and focusing on what they really want rather than the things they might have wanted when they felt a little more flush.”

Marc Spiegler attends at Miart Fair at Fiera Milano City on April 7, 2016 in Milan, Italy. Photo by Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images.

Marc Spiegler attends at Miart Fair at Fiera Milano City on April 7, 2016 in Milan, Italy. Photo by Pietro D’Aprano/Getty Images.

81. Marc Spiegler
Nationality: US
Category: Art Fair Director
Single Line Identifier: The director of Art Basel, the world’s most dominant art fair organization
Quote: “Art Basel does not adapt to changes in the market, nor do we change for the sake of innovation.”

Philomene Magers and Monika Spruth. Photog by Dagmar Schwelle. Courtesy of Spruth Magers.

Philomene Magers and Monika Sprüth. Photog by Dagmar Schwelle. Courtesy of Sprüth Magers.

82. Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers
Nationality: Germany
Category: Art Dealers
Single Line Identifier: Art world feminists who have opened galleries in Cologne, Berlin, London and, most recently, Los Angeles
Quote (Monika): “When you look at the real power, the financial power in the art world, there’s still a difference between the male and female artists.”

Hito Steyerl. Photo by Tobias Zielony. Courtesy of Andrew Kreps and the artist.

Hito Steyerl. Photo by Tobias Zielony. Courtesy of Andrew Kreps and the artist.

83. Hito Steyerl
Nationality: Germany
Category: Artist
Single Line Identifier: The artist-theorist’s hybrid practice explores surveillance, militarization and, above all, the circulation of images in the post-internet world; it has been on view most recently at the Reina Sofia, Madrid, and MOCA Los Angeles/
Quote: “At the moments there are trillions of bits of data circulating around the internet which we have no access to… we have entered a period of the post-human documentary. I think there’s going to be a huge period of adjustment to this situation.”

Adam Szymczyk in 2013. Courtesy of UWE ZUCCHI/AFP/Getty Images.

Adam Szymczyk in 2013. Courtesy of UWE ZUCCHI/AFP/Getty Images.

84. Adam Szymczyk
Nationality: Poland
Category: Curator
Single Line Identifier: The ex-Director and Chief Curator at Kunsthalle Basel is the Artistic Director of the upcoming Documenta 14—due to take place in both Kassel, Germany, and Athens, Greece
Quote: “The most interesting approach to Documenta consists, in my opinion, of resolving the question of how to fill the vessel with contents that represent a far-sighted response to the current situation in the arts, thus making a significant statement in contemporary culture, society and politics comparable in its impact to the first Documenta.”

Budi Tek at the Armory Show China Focus Celebration Party in 2014. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Budi Tek at the Armory Show China Focus Celebration Party in 2014. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan/PatrickMcMullan.com.

85. Budi Tek
Nationality: China/Indonesia
Category: Patron
Single Line Identifier: Patron and Founder of Yuz Museums in Jakarta and Shanghai
Quote: “We want to tell the world that the Yuz Museum places the bar very high.”

Philip Tinari in 2014. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of J Grassi/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Philip Tinari in 2014. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of J Grassi/PatrickMcMullan.com.

86. Philip Tinari
Nationality: US
Category: Museum Director
Single Line Identifier: Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing
Quote: “Ten years ago, there were two galleries in Beijing and maybe two museums showing contemporary art in all of China. Now, even if half of it disappeared, it would be ten times what it was.”

Alex Israel and Francesca von Habsburg attend the Swiss Institute and Surface Magazine dinner celebrating the launch of Hans Ulrich Obrist's Ways Of Curating at Soho Grand Hotel on November 13, 2014 in New York City. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Surface Magazine.

Alex Israel and Francesca von Habsburg attend the Swiss Institute and Surface Magazine dinner on November 13, 2014 in New York City. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Surface Magazine.

87. Francesca von Habsburg
Nationality: Austria
Category: Patron
Single Line Identifier: Founder of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), von Habsburg is organizing, among a growing number of global projects, the upcoming “Oceans Pavilion” for 57th Venice Biennale.
Quote: “Artists have been historically the voice of reason, and today they are the ones who defy traditional market-driven ambitions to instead focus on the urgent issues of our time in a way that empowers people, and inspires them to join the movement.”

Sheena Wagstaff speaks at the Met Breuer Press Preview on March 1, 2016 in New York City. Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images.

Sheena Wagstaff speaks at the Met Breuer Press Preview on March 1, 2016 in New York City. Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images.

88. Sheena Wagstaff
Nationality: UK
Category: Museum Director
Single Line Identifier: Chair of Modern and Contemporary Art at Metropolitan Museum and head of Met Breuer
Quote: “This is the moment for the Met to ask: whither modern and contemporary? How do we go forward into the future?”

Kara Walker at CREATIVE TIME Spring Gala 2014. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of J Grassi/Patrickmcmullan.com.

Kara Walker at CREATIVE TIME Spring Gala 2014. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of J Grassi/Patrickmcmullan.com.

89. Kara Walker
Nationality: US
Category: Artist
Single Line Identifier: The Tepper Chair at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts and McCarthur “genius” grant recipient has provided complex discussion of race with a durable visual language
Quote: “There’s a very American set of caricatures who are informative about the ideas, ideals, mistakes, and goals of this experiment that the new world represents—the experiment that has gone wrong.”

Alice Walton at Americans For The Arts Presents 2015 National Arts Awards in 2015. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Jared Siskin/patrickmcmullan.com.

Alice Walton at Americans For The Arts Presents 2015 National Arts Awards in 2015. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Jared Siskin/patrickmcmullan.com.

90. Alice Walton
Nationality: US
Category: Patron
Single Line Identifier: The world’s richest woman ($33.2 billion) founded the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2011, and recently announced plans to build a new contemporary art museum in her hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.
Quote: “Art wasn’t accessible to me as a child and I hope [the Crystal Bridges Museum] changes this for people throughout this region.”

Adam Weinberg at the AAR Spring Gala 2016. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan/ PMC.

Adam Weinberg at the AAR Spring Gala 2016. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan/ PMC.

91. Adam Weinberg
Nationality: US
Category: Museum Director
Single Line Identifier: The Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Weinberg has solidified the standing of the downtown Whitney as New York’s most important contemporary museum.
Quote: “The Whitney’s role remains the same as it was at its founding: to support and inspire the artists of our time and present the best of 20th- and 21st-century American art.”

Ai Weiwei at the Idomeni refugee camp on the Greek Macedonia border on March 18, 2016 in Idomeni, Greece. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Ai Weiwei at the Idomeni refugee camp on the Greek Macedonia border on March 18, 2016 in Idomeni, Greece. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

92. Ai Weiwei
Nationality: China
Category: Artist
Single Line Identifier: Dubbed “China’s most dangerous man” by Smithsonian Magazine, Ai has spent the last few years in Europe making work related to the refugee crisis.
Quote: “The artist is someone who is involved, but detached at the same time. We are parallel to the conditions and we try to examine and learn from them.”

Iwan Wirth and Manuela Wirth pose for a photo at Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row on October 20, 2015 in London, England. Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Hauser & Wirth.

Iwan Wirth and Manuela Wirth pose for a photo at Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row on October 20, 2015 in London, England. Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Hauser & Wirth.

93. Iwan and Manuela Wirth
Nationality: Swiss
Category: Art Dealers
Single Line Identifier: The art world’s most powerful couple added to their galleries in New York, London, Zurich and Somerset by opening a mammoth new arts complex in downtown Los Angeles together with partner Paul Schimmel.
Quote: “It’s not so much that we chose to work with emerging artists—I’d love to have worked with Gerhard Richter but those who were interested in us were the more complex, less commercial artists.”

Kelly Ying. Courtesy of art021.

Kelly Ying. Courtesy of art021.

94. Kelly Ying and David Chau
Nationality: China
Category: Patrons
Single Line Identifier: Chau set up a $32-million art investment fund when he was just 21, and is the backer of Leo Xu Projects and Simon Wang’s Antenna Space; Ying is the co-founder, with Chau, of Art021, Shanghai’s newest art fair.
Quote (Kelly): “My aim is to be a comprehensive collector, so I pay a lot of attention to both emerging and established artists.”

In this picture taken on March 31, 2016, China's highest profile art collector Liu Yiqian (C) cuts a ribbon to open the Christies spring season in Hong Kong. Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images.

In this picture taken on March 31, 2016, China’s highest profile art collector Liu Yiqian (C) cuts a ribbon to open the Christie’s spring season in Hong Kong.
Courtesy of ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images.

95. Liu Yiqian
Nationality: China
Category: Patron
Single Line Identifier: A taxi-driver turned billionaire, Liu is the Founder of the Long Museum, which has two branches in Shanghai and another planned for Chonqing. Among China’s most successful art investors, Liu spent $170 million to buy a Modigliani painting in an auction at Christie’s on November 2016, one of the highest prices ever paid for an artwork at an auction.
Quote: “When there are many bidders at auction, it proves the work is widely recognized and must be a good one.”

Poju Zabludowicz, Anita Zabludowiczin 2012. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of PAUL BRUINOOGE/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Poju Zabludowicz, Anita Zabludowiczin 2012. ©Patrick McMullan. Courtesy of PAUL BRUINOOGE/PatrickMcMullan.com.

96. Anita and Poju Zabludowicz
Nationality: UK
Category: Patrons
Single Line Identifier: The Zabludowicz Collection and Daata Editions
Quote: “You want not just to acquire what the artists make, but build a relationship with them. Their work becomes part of your life.”

Dai Zhikang, founder of Shanghai Himalayas Museum, CEO of Zendai Group. Courtesy of en.cafa.com.cn.

Dai Zhikang, founder of Shanghai Himalayas Museum, CEO of Zendai Group. Courtesy of en.cafa.com.cn.

97. Dai Zhikang
Nationality: China
Category: Patron
Single Line Identifier: The Chinese real estate impresario made the decision this year to get out of property investment and into investing in art.
Quote: “The size of the art market could soon catch up with the property sector.”

Dasha Zhukova attends the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Dasha Zhukova attends the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

98. Dasha Zhukova
Nationality: Russia
Category: Patron
Single Line Identifier: The Founder—together with husband Roman Abramovich— of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, she is presently at work on New Holland, a new 19-acre cultural complex set on an artificial island in Saint Petersburg.
Quote: “We are very modern. We want to focus on the generation that is shaping Russia’s future.”

David Zwirner attends the Yayoi Kusama "I Who Have Arrived In Heaven" Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images.

David Zwirner attends the Yayoi Kusama “I Who Have Arrived In Heaven” Exhibition Press Preview at David Zwirner Gallery on November 7, 2013 in New York City. Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images.

99. David Zwirner
Nationality: Germany
Category: Art Dealer
Single Line Identifier: The world’s most powerful dealer (or runner-up if you pip Larry Gagosian), Zwirner has built a New York and London gallery empire that is getting a Hong Kong addition in 2017.
Quote: “One of the reasons there’s so much talk about money is that it’s so much easier to talk about than the art.”

Zhau Xu. Courtesy of Beijing Poly.

Zhao Xu. Courtesy of Beijing Poly International Auction.

100. Zhao Xu
Nationality: China
Category: Auction House
Single Line Identifier: Chairman of Beijing Poly International Auction, the world’s third bigest auction house (after Christie’s and Sotheby’s) and China’s largest.
Quote: “We are like the Communist Party, and Sotheby’s and Christie’s are like the Kuomintang. They have many more resources overseas, but we have the people’s faith.”


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