Power 100

Most influential people in 2023 in the contemporary artworld


Steve McQueen

Artist - Award-winning film and TV director and artist shining a light on hidden histories

8 in 2023

  • 20238
  • 202227
  • 202121
  • 202016
  • 201551
  • 201439
  • 201336
  • 201259
  • 201159
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
Photo: James Stopforth

When Grenfell Tower in West London caught fire in 2017, killing 72 people, McQueen felt compelled to document the tragedy, writing: ‘I feared once the tower was covered up it would only be a matter of time before it faded from the public’s memory. In fact, I imagine there were people who were counting on that being the case.’ The artist and Oscar-winning director sat on his deeply moving aerial footage of the building’s husk for five years, at last premiering it in London’s Serpentine South Gallery in April, with the Grenfell public enquiry and criminal investigation still unresolved. Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown said McQueen’s Grenfell (2019) film should ‘be seen by every politician’. McQueen took Occupied City (2023), his new four-hour-plus documentary on Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, to the Cannes Film Festival in May. Next year, a new commission will fill the halls of Dia Beacon with an immersive sound and light installation before travelling to the Schaulager just outside Basel in 2025. That might not sound as political as his usual work, but as McQueen says, ‘Everything is political’.

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