Source: Screenshot of Art Review Power 100 Site

The Art Review’s Power 100 reflects the most influential art folks (in the world). The much deserved #1 spot for 2011 went to Chinese contemporary artist Ai WeiWei. HOWEVER, this list STILL looks like a cup of vanilla ice cream washed down with a cup of milk. According to Art Review, the list is,

First and foremost, a guide to the general trends, networks and forces that shape the artworld.

~ Art Review on the Power 100

I’m not so sure about the list being a true sign of who truly affects and shapes the art world. The list (still) includes many people behind the business of art versus actual artists. With the power of the internet, interactive media, and new media arts, there’s a huge void in the list. In addition, calling these individuals powerful is largely based on accessibility to them. I’m sure Larry Gagosian (last year’s #1) wouldn’t even look at me if I walked into his space. Coincidently, his New York gallery is not too far from Eyebeam (highly influential arts and technology organization that is fertile ground for some ridiculously talented artists).

Bottom line: Although the list may infuriate, excite, or perturb, it’s a gateway into learning one side of the multi-faceted/dimensional nature of the art world.

Click here to read my write-up for the Power 100 list of 2010.

Art Review's 'The Power 100'

Okay, I’m just going to get on my soap box so please feel free to move on if you’re not interested, I totally understand and won’t be offended. To forewarn you, this is a rant. At least I’m my own number one fan, eh?

Here it goes…

Having committed myself to writing everyday, I’m finding the Bay Area art world rife with events and happenings worth writing about. There’s so much going on and all types of genres within the arts and so many different venues. I’d like to think the West Coast knows how to take a space the size of a modest one bedroom apartment bathroom and turn that into a gallery AND have performance art in the space. Or, turning a garage into a space that becomes fertile ground for cultures and sub-cultures to interface and question art – together. Only in San Francisco. There, I said it AND we’re (I’m talking about the Bay Area) is great at establishing a sense of community in the arts. I may feel differently if San Francisco suddenly became the prima ballerina on the world stage (yes, I watched Black Swan and it was wonderfully intense, thank you for humoring my metaphor) but here’s when I start to get a bit disheartened.  I start looking outside my environment…

Los Angeles. Chicago. New York. France. England. Italy. China (yes, they’ve got some crazy amazing art AND they make almost everything we wear or use – shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they are creating a lot of art).

Sigh. Big huge defeated sigh.

Aspiring to be a professor in the arts? Talk about swimming upstream! All the meditation in the world doesn’t ease the fact I have so far to go with my aspirations especially since I counted about 6 people of color in Art Review’s The Power 100. Also, the #1 spot, typically, doesn’t even go to an artist, historically, it has gone to a gallerist! Larry Gagosian was #1 for 2010 (I know he’s been #1 quite a few times). I need to do a bit more research but the Power 100 solidifies that art really has to be part of a market, a trade, and survive as a business. Joking aside, someone who grew up poor and struggling isn’t exactly going to go out of their way to find out who Marina Abramovic (#35 – love her work, by the way) or Okwui Enwezor (#42 – was a Dean at the San Francisco Art Institute) are. I guess that’s where I want to do my part. Somehow. As much as I hate going through that list, I have to do it. I have to. I wonder how many of those individuals did NOT come from affluent families or didn’t have much opposition to pursue their passions? I know, I know. In the arts, you can’t compare yourself and you just have to work hard (like anything else).

Art takes time. Being a part of that larger dialogue takes time. I’m starting to understand and be patient. 

My point: As much as I have a passion for the arts and would love to affect change through teaching it, I feel that I have to encourage people to go looking for the art that resonates with them. Engage people (friends, family, strangers, bloggers, artists, whoever) in the conversation. Most importantly, to not be afraid to write what’s on my mind and from the gut even if someone is offended, dismayed, disturbed, or in direct opposition with what I say. The conversation is what ends up being the most imperative part. 

After getting this off my chest, I’m feeling a lot better. I mean, Art Forum did start out in San Francisco! Many great things do come from this little (but mighty) City by the Bay. 🙂