Power is the issue for Art + Auction
What does the art world love to hate more than the Whitney Biennial? Annual lists of movers, shakers, spenders and makers published by art magazines. So look out for Art + Auction’s 2009 Power Issue, scheduled to hit newsstands Dec. 4. It will bring 159 names to be debated.
Many are familiar, if not ubiquitous. Philanthropist and collector Eli Broad is cited in the new category of “uberpower” and as one of five “power patrons.” Dealer Larry Gagosian, who made the “uberpower” and “perennial power” lists, also scored as a “risk taker” because of “the expansion of his gallery empire to Athens and his venture into Madison Avenue retail during these precarious times,” the magazine says.
Gagosian is not named as a “power dealer,” but L.A.’s Tim Blum and Jeff Poe are. The team is also among the “risk takers” because they are steaming ahead with pre-recession plans to launch an astonishing new space for their gallery, Blum & Poe, on South La Cienega Boulevard.
Predictably, the list of 11 “power artists” focuses on long-established figures such as Bruce Nauman, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami. But it also cites Mark Bradford, a relatively fresh face known for making collages of found materials. Based in Los Angeles, Bradford has won three major awards in the last three years: a $500,000 “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation, a $100,000 Bucksbaum Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and a $50,000 United States Artists fellowship from a consortium of foundations.
"Power exhibitions" include "Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures," organized by Stephanie Barron and Eckhart Gillen for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Among the "power curators" are Hans Ulrich Obrist of London's Serpentine Gallery and Ali Subotnick of L.A.'s Hammer Museum.
This year, Art + Auction established a “new power” category to recognize magnanimous gestures, rising stars and players relatively new to the scene. They include Thomas Campbell, the recently appointed director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; WHW, a Croatian curatorial team that organized the 2009 Istanbul Biennial; Russian mining heiress and collector Maria Baibakova, who sponsored the Guggenheim Museum’s Kandinsky retrospective; and Charles E. Young, the former UCLA chancellor who came out of retirement to lead L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art out of its financial and administrative trouble.
Young also appears in the “executive power” group, as does President Obama, for bringing modern and contemporary art to the White House.
The magazine’s staff also came up with a “power outage” list. Among those who fizzled are Brandeis University’s Rose Museum, which almost sold its art collection, and artists Shepard Fairey and Annie Leibovitz, who got caught up in legal problems.
-- Suzanne Muchnic
Photos: Top, Jeff Poe and Tim Blum. Credit: Copyright Renee Martin. Bottom, Mark Bradford. Credit Kwaku Alston / For The Times