The 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World: 2012 Edition
on October 25, 2012It’s that time of year again. Art Review just had their fun bringing the art world their directory of the rich and powerful, and now it’s our turn to flip the script and point out that not everyone is rich, famous, or powerful in our beloved community. Here is our infamous Hyperallergic Powerless 20!
The art world can suck, but for these people it sucks just a little bit more.
1 — Gallery Girls, the Bravo TV reality show of the same name set you and feminism back at least 30 years.
2 — Trained Curators, everyone’s a curator (which means no one actually is, but never mind), so maybe you should all be asking for a refund from Bard College or wherever you learned to do what everyone is doing on Tumblr “naturally.” Honestly, couldn’t LA’s MOCA just hire some all-star Pinterester to replace Paul Schimmel or something?
3 — Progressives in the Art World, Manhattan gallerists Larry Gagosian, William Acquavella, Susan Aberbach, and Nathan Bernstein are all Republican donors, and we’re sure there are tons of super-collectors who also give to the GOP, not to mention some artists (you know who you are). So, where is that mythic liberal, progressive art world? Not in the top 1%, that’s for sure. And how about the politically engaged progressives, like the Indian cartoonist, the Syrian filmmaker or the progressive cause célèbre, Pussy Riot? Not much hope.
4 — New media artists who try to sell their work to anyone not backed by Intel. And you internet artists whose work only exists on Twitter and Tumblr? LOL.
5 — Manifesto writers, you guys want to change the world, but no one cares. Why not try it in GIF form instead?
6 — Cecilia Gimenez, she created the Beast Jesus viral sensation after fucking up a conservation (we think that’s what she was doing) job, and then cried foul when the church, which had started to charge admission in an effort to reap the benefits of the Beast Jesus tourist boom, wouldn’t share the wealth. She goes against the grain, doesn’t care what other people think, creates an icon, becomes famous as a result, and doesn’t get paid… Hell, she’s starting to sound like a real artist.
7 — Occupy Wall Street, one year later income inequality is up in NYC.
8 — Appropriationists, losing ground in court, and being attacked by purists. The courts are creating the perception that you’re stealing, and it’s a little frightening that lots of people in the art community agree with the courts.
9 — Clarity, which has taken a real beating from International Art English.
10 — Young art critics who are instructed that a critical reviews can ruin them for life. They learn that flattery is the best policy, which completely crushes whatever idealism they might have been secretly harboring.
11 — The “democratized” art market is something everyone wants to do: art for less, more multiples, make art free… Anyway, the problem is that this new wave of democratization, or whatever you want to call it, means we’re all drowning in cheap kitsch.
12 — Big Bird, he’s not strictly an artist, but he is a performance artist in our hearts, and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to fire him … umm, even though our big feathered yellow friend doesn’t get federal funding (oops, Mittens!). We’ll soon find out if a Big Bird in the crosshairs of the GOP is worth millions of votes in the ballot box.
13 — The poor suckers who post regularly on Jerry Saltz’s Facebook’s page. We understand the appeal of the social media cult, but we don’t understand what people get out of it. Jerry’s not going to review your show, even though I’m sure he’d love to do you the favor.
14 — Thomas Kinkade, the “painter of light” died tragically in April of ”acute intoxication” from alcohol and Valium. Then people started to question the claim that he was “America’s most-collected living artist,” with some outrageous estimates suggesting 1 in every 20 American homes owned a copy of one of his paintings. Then his ex-wife and girlfriend began to fight over his legacy (i.e. money). As in life, Kinkade’s idealized universe is a mess.
15 — Odd Nerdrum, the outspoken Norwegian artist, considers himself a political prisoner (few others do), but when he appealed his sentence over tax charges and then received a LONGER sentence as a result, we felt a little bad for him. But the real injustice is that the painter will be banned from creating art when he’s locked away because it would be considered a commercial activity.
16 — Charles Saatchi, oh, how the mighty have fallen. Once the reputed kingmaker of the Young British Art scene, Saatchi is having trouble giving away his vast art collection. When he entered into talks with the UK’s Arts Council, they asked if they could pick only what they wanted. Saatchi thought that was rude. Dude, maybe they’re just not that into you.
17 — Re-performers, performance art guru Marina Abramović often treats you badly, no one really seems to respect you (i.e. pay you much), but you’re still going at it. Good luck.
18 — Art Unions, they’re crumbling. Sotheby’s did rather well in their hardball negotiations with their art handlers union, the San Francisco museum unions has their troubles as well, and only the most diehard optimist will say that unions in the art world are ascendant when in reality they are anything but.
19 — Christo, once the king of “I can do anything I want to nature.” He has been rather humbled with his latest Colorado project on federal lands. Maybe the world has changed (we know we have) and the idea of overtaking pristine natural vistas for the purpose of art and drawing hundreds of thousands of temporary tourists isn’t as appetizing as it used to be. Then again, maybe projects like Christo’s are the art/nature version of gentrification and we’ve finally admitted that to ourselves.
20 — Getty Art Educators, once renowned for their art education department, the future of art educators at the billionaire Getty is more uncertain than ever before as the institution has chopped $4.3 million from their education budget in favor of more art acquisitions. What’s the point of more objects if there is no one there to educate a young generation about them?