Power 100

Most influential people in 2020 in the contemporary artworld


Liza Essers

Gallerist - Director of Goodman Gallery

65 in 2020

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Photo: Anthea Pokroy

Goodman Gallery was founded in 1966 in Johannesburg during the apartheid era by Linda Givon, who died this year. Essers took over in 2008 and opened a Cape Town space, and last year a gallery in London. Writing on Artnet, Essers noted that while the gallery’s closure during the pandemic makes the business vulnerable, it has weathered worse: for long it was the only place Black artists could show; and in 2012 Essers was sued by Jacob Zuma for showing Brett Murray’s The Spear (2010), which depicts the then-South African president with his penis hanging out. During lockdown, the gallerist – who represents 45 artists, including El Anatsui, Grada Kilomba, William Kentridge and Gabrielle Goliath – threw herself into fundraising for embattled local hospitals and health clinics in underserved communities, and providing sanitation essentials to the homeless. The London space reopened with a show of the late photographer David Goldblatt, while Johannesburg saw a Kentridge exhibition (the artist’s own DIY ‘incubator space’, The Centre for the Less Good Idea, took the seventh of its annual performance seasons online).

The ArtReview Power 100 is presented by BMW Group Culture

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