100 Most Influential People in the Art World: Part Three

The grand finale is here.

Xin Li. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/ Patrick McMullan.
Xin Li and Simon de Pury. Photo: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com.

Xin Li and Simon de Pury.
Photo: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com.

This year, we’ve watched records break at high-profile auctions and attendance grow at an abundance of international art fairs. At the same time, high art and pop culture keep intersecting and informing one another in curious ways, as evinced by fairs such as Art Basel in Miami Beach.

There’s no question that the art world is a powerful force in contemporary society, but who are the individuals with influence driving this well-oiled machine? From billionaire patrons to biennial curators, celebrity collectors to internationally celebrated artists, we made a list of the 100 most influential people in the art world today. (Here are parts One and Two.)

Okwui Enwezor, Director of the Visual Arts section – la Biennale di Venezia Curator of the 56th International Art Exhibition "All The World's Futures" Photo: Giorgio Zucchiatti

Okwui Enwezor, Director of the Visual Arts section – la Biennale di Venezia
Curator of the 56th International Art Exhibition “All The World’s Futures”
Photo: Giorgio Zucchiatti.

67. Okwui Enwezor
The Nigerian-born curator and poet became the first African artistic director of the Venice Biennale this year and has been key in bringing African and diaspora artists into the conversation. He’s also director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, which helps.

Patricia Barbizet.Photo: Courtesy of Artemis/speakerpedia.com.

Patricia Barbizet.
Photo: Courtesy of Artemis Holding/speakerpedia.com.

68. Patricia Barbizet
The French businesswoman became the first female CEO of Christie’s last year and has led the auction house to another record-breaking year.

Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. Photo: patrickmcmullan.com

Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.
Photo: patrickmcmullan.com

69. Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
The Venezuelan-American collector and patron has a preeminent collection of modern and contemporary Latin American art, and has been able to flex her international influence over several institutions’ acquisitions committees.

Software billionaire and art philanthropist Paul Allen had a change of heart. Photo: Robin Twomey via Newsweek

Software billionaire and art philanthropist Paul Allen.
Photo: Robin Twomey via Newsweek

70. Paul Allen
The Microsoft co-founder and art collector will open a non-profit art center Pivot Art + Culture in Seattle. This year, he also shared works from his private collection in a traveling exhibition which is touring five American cities.

Paul Kasmin. Photo: Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Paul Kasmin.
Photo: Paul Kasmin Gallery.

71. Paul Kasmin
The New York art dealer and gallerist has a longtime relationship with Frank Stella, since the days of his father’s gallery, Kasmin Ltd. This year he mounted an exhibition of the artist’s work just days before Stella’s popular Whitney Museum retrospective.

Paul Schimmel, Yvonne Schimmel== Carl Andre In His Time Opening Reception at Mnuchin Gallery== Mnuchin Gallery, 45 East 78th Street, NYC== September 9, 2015== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/PatrickMcMullan.com== ==

Paul Schimmel, Yvonne Schimmel
Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/PatrickMcMullan.com

72. Paul Schimmel
The MOCA former chief curator makes an intriguing transition from the museum world to the commercial gallery scene, joining Hauser & Wirth to run their Los Angeles location and adding his name to the outpost, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel.

Peter Brant and Owen Wilson. Photo: Seth Browarnik / WorldRedEye.com

Peter Brant (left) and Owen Wilson (right).
Photo: Seth Browarnik / WorldRedEye.com

73. Peter Brant
The mega collector and publication mogul made headlines this year for consolidating his art media properties. Let’s see what he does next.

Pierre Tm Chen

Pierre T.M. Chen.
Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s/ Andrew Loiterton.

74. Pierre T.M. Chen
The Taiwan-based businessman and art collector has amassed an impressive collection of Eastern and Western contemporary works which he’s exhibited in recent years.

Intimidating: Richard Armstrong We wouldn't want to mess with the director of the Guggenheim. But we would want to get his business card. Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Patrick McMullan

Richard Armstrong
Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Patrick McMullan

75. Richard Armstrong
The director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has expanded the museum’s brand in recent years with development of the Guggenheim Helsinki underway and ambitions for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi aloft.

Robert Mnuchin== L&M and Interview Host The Opening of Tom Wesselmann: The Sixties== L&M Arts, NYC== March 8, 2006== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo-Joe Schildhorn/PMc== ==

Robert Mnuchin
Photo: Joe Schildhorn/©Patrick McMullan

76. Robert Mnuchin
The former Wall Street mainstay and celebrated New York art dealer is redefining his gallery and securing his reputation for hosting impressive exhibitions after a split with former partner Dominique Levy.

RoseLee Goldberg. Photo: Will Ragozzino, courtesy Patrick McMullan/Performa.

RoseLee Goldberg.
Photo: Will Ragozzino, courtesy Patrick McMullan/Performa.

77. RoseLee Goldberg
The art historian and Performa founder just closed the performance art festival’s sixth edition and continues the expansion of its programming beyond New York with a European tour of Yvonne Rainer’s work.

Ryan Trecartin and Sarah Sheikh at the Klaus Biesenbach / Ryan Trecartin reception with Bombay Sapphire at Soho House Berlin Photo: Courtesy Soho House Berlin

Ryan Trecartin and Sarah Sheikh.
Photo: Courtesy Soho House Berlin

78. Ryan Trecartin
The American artist and filmmaker is known for his precious interpretation of the hyper-digital world. This year he co-curated the New Museum’s Triennial, along with Lauren Cornell (#50).

Kehinde Wiley, DJ MeLo-X and Sean Kelly chat at an opening for Frank Thiel at Sean Kelly Gallery. Photo - Clint Spaulding/PatrickMcMullan.com

Kehinde Wiley, DJ MeLo-X and Sean Kelly chat at an opening for Frank Thiel at Sean Kelly Gallery.
Photo: Courtesy of Clint Spaulding/PatrickMcMullan.com

79. Sean Kelly
The New York gallerist boasts a roster of renowned international artists including Marina Abramović and the estate of Robert Mapplethorpe.

Serge Lasvignes Photo via: La Depeche

Serge Lasvignes
Photo: La Depeche

80. Serge Lasvignes
The French technocrat was appointed president of the Pompidou Center this year, replacing Alain Seban in a surprise move backed by the French culture ministry. We’ll see if he brings in a larger, and broader, audience.

Former phillips chairman Simon de Pury praised McGinnis for his art world expertise. Photo: Alastair Levy via The Telegraph

Simon de Pury.
Photo: Alastair Levy via The Telegraph

81. Simon de Pury
The curator and advisor launched an eponymous online auction platform de Pury this year and already found a partnership with Christie’s for a sale in October.

Stefan Simchowitz portrait, Simon's World

Stefan Simchowitz.
Image: Courtesy @stefansimchowitz on Instagram.

82. Stefan Simchowitz
The publicity-hungry advisor, dealer, flipper, and advocate for young artists has emerged as a figure of both admiration and loathing.

Steve McQueen. (Photo: Thierry Bal)

Steve McQueen.
Photo: Thierry Bal.

83. Steve McQueen
The visionary artist and now Hollywood filmmaker has found his audience expanded in recent years after the success of Twelve Years a Slave.

Suzie Kim.Image: Courtesy of Kukje Gallery.

Suzie Kim.
Image: Courtesy of Kukje Gallery.

84. Suzie Kim
Kim is the daughter of gallerist Hyun-Sook Lee, who is the director of Kukje Gallery in Seoul, which expanded to three venues in recent years and shows major international artists like Jenny Holzer and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Their roster also includes Bill Viola, Ugo Rondinone, Alexander Calder, and Louise Bourgeois, and this year, the gallery held the collateral exhibition Dansaekhwa at the Venice Biennale.

Tad Smith.Photo: Courtesy of WK ART.

Tad Smith.
Photo: Courtesy of WK ART.

85. Tad Smith
The businessman with a background in media and entertainment was named the CEO of Sotheby’s auctionhouse, and has been making waves this year.

Pharrell Williams and Takashi Murakami, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2013 Via: designboom

Takashi Murakami (left) and Pharrell Williams (right).
Photo: Courtesy of designboom

86. Takashi Murakami
The prolific Japanese artist is both widely influential as well as a collector’s favorite. This year he had a museum show in Japan, a high-profile commercial show at Gagosian in New York, and even exhibited in Ibiza.

Thaddaeus Ropac. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Thaddaeus Ropac.
Photo: Patrick McMullan

87. Thaddaeus Ropac
The longtime Salzburg gallerist has expanded to Paris and Alpine City over the years while he’s continued his exploration into existential ideas of death and space with his programming. This year he organized an exhibition in Austria to raise money for Syrian refugees.

Don and Mera Rubell. Photo: patrickmcmullan.com

Don and Mera Rubell.
Photo: patrickmcmullan.com

88. The Rubells
The Miami family have been longtime collectors and early adopters of artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Rubell Foundation features their extensive private collection, and their profile continues to rise alongside Miami Basel’s.

Theaster Gates outside "Sanctum" in Bristol Photo: Max McClure

Theaster Gates outside “Sanctum” in Bristol
Photo: Max McClure

89. Theaster Gates
The socially-engaged artist opened his Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago this year, a hybrid and civic-minded arts center aimed at fostering and preserving African-American culture.

Thelma Goldin==Art Production Fund's White Glove Gone Wild Gala==Private Club, NYC==March 12, 2014==©Patrick McMullan==Photo - J Grassi/Patrickmcmullan.com====

Thelma Goldin.
Photo: J Grassi/©Patrick McMullan.

90. Thelma Golden
This year Golden returned to the position of director of the Studio Museum in Harlem where she’s worked for the past 15 years. She has plans to expand the gallery by 50 percent.

Thierry Raspail.Photo: © Blaise Adilon/Courtesy of Biennale de Lyon.

Thierry Raspail.
Photo: © Blaise Adilon/Courtesy of Biennale de Lyon.

91. Thierry Raspail
The artistic director of the Biennale de Lyon has helmed the fair’s rise to the premier event of its kind in France, characterized by notable curators and weighty philosophical themes.

Tim Blum, Jeff Poe== Blum & Poe - Inaugural Preview and 15 Anniversary == Blum & Poe Gallery, Los Angeles, CA== October 02, 2009== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - ANDREAS BRANCH/patrickmcmullan.com==

Tim Blum, Jeff Poe
Photo: Andreas Branch/©Patrick McMullan.

92. Tim Blum, Jeff Poe
The pair of L.A. art dealers have established themselves in New York and Tokyo in recent years. They are known for introducing Japanese artists to the West and this year they staged a Murakami exhibition at two locations in Ibiza.

trevor-paglen-8-22-2014

Trevor Paglen
Courtesy: Creative Time

93. Trevor Paglen
The American artist has proved his relevancy and versatility in recent years. His work has been shown in both museums and commercial galleries, and also he’s been a key figure in the movement of activists, journalists, and filmmakers battling surveillance culture.

Udo Kittelmann.Photo: Juliane Eirich.

Udo Kittelmann.
Photo: Juliane Eirich/Courtesy of Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

94. Udo Kittelmann
The director of Berlin’s Nationalgalerie. This year, he oversaw the beginning of a four-year estimated €101 million renovation project of the Neue Nationalgalerie.

Victoria Siddall. Photo: Courtesy Linda Lylind/Frieze.

Victoria Siddall.
Photo: Courtesy Linda Lylind/Frieze.

95. Victoria Siddall
The new director of Frieze, Siddall took the reins at the London fair this Fall.

Wang Yannan.Photo: Harel Rintzler/©Patrick McMullan.

Wang Yannan.
Photo: Harel Rintzler/©Patrick McMullan.

96. Wang Yannan
The co-founder and CEO of China Guardian, one of the country’s leading auction houses. She’s led the company to record-breaking sales and she’s establishing a high degree of credibility, working to change the trend of Chinese collectors buying works abroad.

Xin Li Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/ Patrick McMullan

Xin Li
Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/ Patrick McMullan

97. Xin Li
An emerging art-world power player, the deputy chairman of Christie’s Asia specializes in matchmaking artworks with Chinese billionaires.

Yayoi Kusama Photo via: Jamille Sodré

Yayoi Kusama
Photo via: Jamille Sodré

98. Yayoi Kusama
Kusama is the highest-earning living female artist. Her iconic polka dots are instantly recognizable, and have graced everything from Louis Vuitton handbags, to giant bus ads for her popular Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective in 2012. People line up for hours just to witness her infinity rooms.

Yoko Ono: An influential avant-garde multimedia artist and peace activist Photo: Patrick McMullan

Yoko Ono
Photo: Patrick McMullan

99. Yoko Ono
The Japanese artist, activist, and celebrity had a successful retrospective at the MoMA this year, and has continued to be a force to be reckoned with in the world of art and music.

Zaha Hadid== Pritzker Architecture Prize Gala== New World Center, Miami, Florida== May 15, 2015== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Sean Zanni/PatrickMcMullan.com== ==

Zaha Hadid
Photo: Sean Zanni/©Patrick McMullan.

100. Zaha Hadid
This year the Iraqi-British architect designed the soon-to-be world’s largest airport in Beijing, and it’s been announced that she will be the first woman to receive the gold medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Her designs and buildings are some of the most iconic in the world.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share