Should McQueen even still be on an art Power 100? Sure, he was included in the Venice Biennale this year with his magisterial work Ashes (2014), the story of a young Grenadian fisherman who was murdered by a drug gang. But the filmmaker’s time is now predominantly spent directing movies such as 12 Years a Slave (2013, which earned him the Oscar for Best Picture) and the forthcoming feature-length remake of the Lynda La Plante-penned TV series Widows (1983); making pilots for HBO (Codes of Conduct, 2015, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Paul Dano); and collaborating with Kanye West (on a nine-minute film premiered in March at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, essentially a music video for two unreleased tracks from West’s forthcoming album Swish).
What he gets described as doesn’t matter to McQueen, though: “There is no differentiation between film and art for me,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (his record choices included West, Prince and Miles Davis). “It’s all one thing, as if film was the novel and visual art is poetry; one is narrative and linear, the other is abstract and fragmented. It’s all just about ideas.”