Some advice on compiling future power lists

Grossmalerman, from the December 2013 issue

Courtesy Jonathan Grossmalerman

I can’t believe it. It’s finally happened. I’ve… well, I’ve slipped off the ArtReview Power 100. At first I suspected it had been a simple oversight. So outlandish was my absence from the list that I assumed their refusal to answer my phone calls, emails and obsessive tweets had been out of embarrassment over their silly mistake. It wasn’t until I finally ‘ran into’ editor Mark Rappolt’s mom in the Tesco fruit and vegetable aisle that my darkest fears were realised. She explained, in no uncertain terms, that I simply wasn’t powerful enough and they didn’t want me on their list any more. Well ain’t that a kick in the pants!

Sure! I suppose it’s been a couple of years since I cunningly organised a coalition of nations to destroy the connoisseur/brutal dictator Gaddafi’s enormous but really quite good art collection, thereby keeping it out of the hands of rebels who I suspected were just going to dump it willy-nilly on the international art market, causing a worldwide deluge of contemporary art and in turn collapsing artists’ markets everywhere. Tino Sehgal’s notwithstanding. You know – aka the time I pretty much saved contemporary art! I mean, I feel like maybe that’s worth a little more than two years on the Power 100 list. Sure, maybe I frittered away some of my power on late nights and cheap thrills, but… I saved contemporary art! And yes, it’s possible that I squandered a chunk of power with my ill-advised power play to become President Obama’s art czar. 

I understand that paying a K Street lobbying firm a substantial portion of my income in the mistaken understanding that such a position, in fact, existed wasn’t such a hot idea. And yes! I do have egg on my face… but fall off the list entirely? Has Marc Spiegler (no 16) never made a mistake? Has François Pinault (no 19) never gotten in the wrong taxi and ended up in New Jersey with a series of peculiar stains on his lap that he can’t explain to the woman he loves? I can only presume Anne Pasternak (no 47) is some sort of perfect angel!

Listen, I admit that I’m in the middle of a painting crisis. Sure, I’ve stared at my easel every day for the last three months, its blankness mocking me. Yes, my market has slowed, and it’s possible (but I am not necessarily convinced) that large-scale paintings of vaginas may not be the cultural slam-dunk they once were… but this doesn’t take away from the fact that I saved contemporary art! That must be worth something! Surely you can see that!?

And don’t think I’m demanding to be number one. Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani is a nice girl and she owns 3,256 of my best paintings. I’m perfectly content with Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani being number one. If you asked me who I think should be number one on the ArtReview Power 100 list, the first name that would pop into my head is most definitely Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, alright? But is it too much to ask to be number seven? Perhaps 23? I’d even happily take Eva Presenhuber’s spot at number 59. She’s in Zurich, so she probably isn’t even using it. Which brings me to another point. I couldn’t help but notice that a significant portion of the people on your list don’t even live or work in New York. I mean, how powerful could they even be?

I have an idea that could possibly get us both out of this awkward jam: perhaps next year you could expand the list to make it the ArtReview Power 250. It would still have that haughty aura of social ranking. You could even put the first 100 in bold caps! I’m pretty confident I’d be on that one. I would, right?

This article was first published in the December 2013 issue.