Theaster Gates on ArtReview's Power 100 List

October 18, 2012

It’s been 11 years since ArtReview first produced its annual ranking of the most influential people in the artworld, and it’s been quite a ride – past the ecstatic and the furious, bruised egos and big heads, baffled frowns and knowing smiles.

The contemporary art that we get to see (as opposed to contemporary art in general) and the discussions we have about it are determined by a complex and shifting network of forces and interests. Since its inception, the Power 100 has aimed to map and document these forces and their shifts as clearly as possible. As a result, the list is founded on observation rather than judgements about who is best and who is worst. And you don’t get a crown, a robe, a prize or even a certificate for being number one.

The artworld’s expanding, fragmenting scene faces some big questions: beyond Big Money, there are Big Ideas to be fought over, about who art is for, as much as what it is for. At a time of constant muttering about the 1% and the other 99%, the artworld might be living proof that art really does imitate life.

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