Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Top 100 list that may actually be useful

Wilhelm Sasnal, Magic Johnson, 2006, Oil on Canvas, Image from Anton Kern Gallery

Flash Art Magazine's October issue has two lists of the top 100 artists (no link to specific article). The first list was the result of asking critics who they thought were the most relevant artists today. For the second list the same question was asked to gallerists and dealers. At the top of both lists was Wilhelm Sasnal (pictured above). Interesting discrepancies start happening at number two. It should be noted that Matthew Barney, Damien Hirst and Maurizio Cattelan were assumed to be one, two and three and therefore were not voted on (although Barney still got 5 votes from the dealers - take from that what you will).

It's no surprise that critics might pick work a little more challenging (or at least a little tougher to sell). For example, personal favorite Tino Sehgal was number 2 on the critics list and number 33 on the gallery list. Santiago Sierra was 14 on critics list and voted 44 from the galleries. Also, Martin Creed was 43 on crit list and not in the top 100 from the galleries. Another artists left off the gallery list was Candice Breitz who was number 47 on the critics list. Walid Raad/Atlas Group was number 26 on the critic list, zip from the galleries. And to confirm my vote for this years Turner Prize, Phil Collins was 10 on the critics list and couldn't be found on the gallery list.

No surprise too that galleries tended to favor market darlings. Dana Schutz was 15 on the gallery list and 99 from the critics. Marcel Dzama was 31 on the gallery side and 81 on the critic side. And Chris Johanson was number 21 from the galleries and nowhere on the critic list. I was however, very surprised to see Karen Kilimnik be just 69 on the gallery list and not on the critic list at all.

There were also some interesting similarities. Gelitin was number 70 for the critics and 63 for the galleries, Jesper Just was 61 and 69, Banks Violette was 27 and 15. I was not surprised Assume Vivid Astro Focus was not on either list (although they did get votes), I was however surprised that Janet Cardiff and Rodney Graham didn't make either list as well.

If I may add one more personal favorite as one to watch, Yeondoo Jung got some votes from the critics and none from the galleries. Watch this fine photographer skyrocket in the near future!

2 Responses to “A Top 100 list that may actually be useful”

Art 101 said...
October 22, 2006 at 9:49 AM

How old fashioned, as if the 1980s are still around, and the few magazines of that era left - Flash Art, Artforum, and that kind of soft friends-crit - still wields some power or even imagination about "the art world". Do you imagine people reading from some internet-community, that is, outside of NYC, care about the positions given through these magazines? Just look at the ads, look at the inconsistencies in "rules" as to what shows get covered, what not, and editorial process as always and the lists remain what they are - meaningless, less funny than Letterman's Top 10.

These lists are like always, family-lists. Critics are not autonomous - surely you know some? We all do - they have friends, favorites, they want to name-check people they themselves wouldnt care about but it looks cool or street cred, they want to impress certain collectors or curry favor because of new catalogs coming and endless permutations of ass kissing. Please!

And commercial galleries are not spending more than a few minutes on it, and surely not autonomous and honest, as if suddenly not looking to either their artists or potential collectors.

There are lots of names that don't make it - usually the more interesting - historically, just look back to the last twenty years of lists about POWER, or for that matter, the even more laughable "top 100"s.

Anonymous said...
November 4, 2006 at 1:47 AM

Does anyone want some?

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