Power 100

Most influential people in 2020 in the contemporary artworld


Matthew Burrows

Artist - Interested in the fraught economics of being an artist

37 in 2020

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Courtesy Matthew Burrows Studio

Alongside his painting, Burrows has long been interested in the fraught economics of being an artist – he has previously run mentoring schemes on just this. So when commissions, sales and teaching gigs were cancelled globally this year, he came up with a simple hashtag and proposal. Under #artistsupportpledge, artists post work for sale on Instagram, priced at under £200/$200 depending on the region. If the artist sells five works, they promise to in turn purchase from another artist using the same scheme. From its launch in mid-March through to today, the DIY project has exploded, with close to half a million works offered direct from studios, an estimated £60m in sales (as of August) and press coverage stretching from Malaysia to America, Denmark to India. It was, Burrows says, a way of creating a rapid economy based on a ‘culture of generosity’, while also proving that the artworld’s gatekeepers and power structures can be circumvented. For his efforts, Burrows has been awarded an MBE by the British government.

The ArtReview Power 100 is presented by BMW Group Culture

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