Welcome to the fifth outing of Australia’s most beloved power list – the good, the bad and the fugly of the Australian art world.
There are four kinds of power: there’s money and influence of the kind held by philanthropists, super collectors and major gallery directors; then there’s the administrative power of curators, bureaucrats and lower echelon collectors and gallery people; and then there’s the illusion of power conjured out of nothing by people with a public profile, an axe to grind and soapbox to yell it to the world. And let’s not forget the artists, whose magical combination of talent, visibility and opportunity push them up above the fray…
For this year’s Power Trip we’ve busted out the old 50 up to 100. To get there we followed our tried and tested process of keeping records, comparing notes, making long lists, short lists, then throwing those lists away, going out for coffee, then finally consulting Facebook. People often tell us that our process is flawed, that it’s unrepresentative, and that there aren’t enough artists etc. In short, this list does not represent the way people want the art world to be. That may well be the case, but just remember this: Last year we predicted that Donald Trump would be US President. So who is laughing now?
For those who enjoy lists, you should note that now we have 100 names, the list is a lot more elastic and so while your favourite curator, gallery director, artist or art critic may have moved down, the positions are worked out relative to their categories of power rather than by strict numerical position. So if you moved down, it might just be an optical illusion.
As always, we welcome your comments.
100. Scott Redford
Full-time Internet pest, part-time artist.
99. Tracey Clement
One of the hardest working arts journos in the biz, and a dab hand curator
98. Bree Pickering
Has big shoes to fill at Murray Art Museum Australia – so watch this space.
97. Sian McIntyre
Young and determined artist/curator.
96. Brett Adlington
He’s finally building the new gallery Lismore has been waiting on for decades.
95. Nicholas Forrest
Instagramming watches and cars while writing art pieces for Blouin Art Info.
94. Louise Zhang
Who? You’ll see.
93. Nicole Durling
The brains at MONA.
92. Natalia Bradshaw
Curator taking Australian art to exotic locations.
91. Simon Wright
The power-behind-the-throne at GOMA.
90. Mikala Dwyer
Ultra-respected artist, teacher, mentor.
89. Michael Lynch
Doing his best to save the National Art School.
88. Del Kathryn Barton
Archibald prizes + films.
87. Amanda Love
Super-connected art dealer.
86. Natty Solo
Not the blogger the art world wants, the blogger the art world needs…
David Capra, Abdul Abdullah and Nat Randall are FBI’s breakfast art crew.
84. Anna Pappas
Is there such as thing as the Melbourne Art Fair?
83. James Valentine
Every arts story on The Mix can livened up with some of Mr. Valentine’s patented humour!
82. Sam Leach
Many try to paint like Leach, few succeed. Or write as well
81. Daniel Boyd
Artist, Artspace board member
80. Isobel Parker Philip
One of the best young curators in the country.
79. Tamara Dean
78. Sasha Grishin
He’s got a great story about researching his last book on the web!
77. Peter Daverington
Ex-pat, ex-street art, painter showing the kids how it’s done.
76. Ted Snell
Perth’s never-say-die art critic, director of a “cultural precinct”.
75. Barbara Flynn
Curator, writer and public arts curator for Sydney City with public money to spend.
74. Paul Becker
Launched in Sydney, Art money has now successfully crossed the Atlantic
73. Eleonora Triguboff
There are some fancy art books to publish…
One name, much love.
71. Ashley Crawford
Rebooting web publishing with the launch of thearticle.com.au
70. Deborah Kelly
Dealing in beauty to keep the bastards honest.
Video piracy is a major problem in Australia – and worth a $100,000 Ian Potter Moving Image Commission!
68. Robert Cook
AGWAs always-inventive curator/writer
67. Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran
Australia’s hottest young artist right now™!
66. Marcus Westbury
Turning dead ends into cultural precincts.
65. Sebastian Goldspink
Flying the flag for emerging artists everywhere.
64. The CoUNTess
Counting the numbers and finding they don’t add up, dammit!
63. Wendy Whiteley
Only Wendy gets to decide who sits next to Wendy at dinner parties.
62. Sen. Mitch Fifield
Put Barney Rubble in charge of the federal arts ministry and watch a farrago turn into a shit show.
61. Tamara Winikoff
Fighting the good fight.
60. Natalie King
59. Nina Miall
Joint-curator of The National.
58. Susi Muddiman
Those tour buses don’t just drive themselves to Tweed Regional Gallery, there has to be art there first…
57. Tracey Cooper Lavery
Five minutes back on the Goldie and she’s snagged millions for the new gallery due in 2020.
56. Kirsty Grant
Everyone loves to go Heide.
55. Michael Rolfe
The head of Museums and Galleries NSW stacking up the air miles…
54. Erica Green
Curator of the Adelaide Biennial 2018 & SAMSTAG director
53. Tony Albert
Sell-out shows, TV shows and all round nice guy.
52. Tracey Moffatt
Exciting emerging artist representing Australia in the big leagues.
51. Art & Australia Editorial Board
Rebirthing Australia’s art world journal of record, cheekily renumbered at ‘0’.
50. Daniel Mudie Cunningham
Artbank’s top curator, journal editor, artist and part-time plushie.
49. Robert Nelson
An art critic doesn’t need to feel that they’re obliged to like things.
48. Michael Reid
Multi-national private art enterprises run with panache and a smart selection of jackets.
Australia Council CEO, much like a polar bear on a shrinking ‘berg…
46. Tim Fairfax
Enjoys giving his money to QAGOMA.
45. Alison Kubler & Michael Zavros
She, GOMAs en-sashed goodwill ambassadress, he, portrait painter to near-royalty.
44. Philip Bacon
Gallerist, philanthropist, gent.
43. Wayne Tunnicliffe
Curator at AGNSW and joint curator of The National.
42. Susan Borham
No one admits to buying Art Collector, but everybody reads it…
41. Victoria Lynn
Art and wine do mix.
40. Martin Browne
Owner of the most beautiful gallery in Sydney, now with added legroom.
39. Dick Quan
Sydney’s force-of-nature über-collector.
38. Djon Mundine
Ubiquity can be a good thing.
Not only does Stephens run Artbank, he takes a good photo.
36. Gina Fairley
If Artshub’s Gina Fairly didn’t report it, it didn’t happen
35. Ursula Sullivan & Joanna Strumpf
A stellar year of new recruits, major exhibitions and one of the hottest young artists of the year™!
34. Dr. Gene Sherman
She’ll send you a love letter straight from her heart.
33. Glenn Barkley
The everywhere man of art, artist and curator, now with his very own backlash.
32. Pat Corrigan
One of the most generous art collectors and philanthropists in the country.
31. Karen Quinlan
Bendigo in full effect.
30. Alexi Glass-Kantor
Diminutive in scale but hugely influential. We’re talking about Artspace itself, obvs.
29. Roslyn Oxley
Still going strong, kinda.
28. John McDonald
“A common or garden variety art critic” McDonald doubles as film critic for the AFR, doing both jobs equally well.
27. Mandy Chang
ABC arts head, deciding who sees what.
26. Max Delany
No one really liked the Painting More Painting shows but everyone went to see them. Sweet.
25. Kelly Gellatly
The Potter storms home in 2016 with a show by one of Australia’s hottest young artists right now™!
24. Sarah Cottier
Quietly one of the most influential gallerists in the country.
23. Michael Brand
In the end perception equals reality. Things can only get better.
22. Jan Minchin
Tolarno Galleries director stalwart.
21. Anna Schwartz
Stylish art establishment.
20. Nick Mitzevich
Moved, conquered and now has his sights set on even bigger things for Adelaide.
19. Chris Saines
Still dressing for the tropics and producing great, well-timed speeches.
18. John Olsen
17. Naomi Milgrom
M Pavilion, Venice.
16. The Balnaves Family
Tick off their philanthropic grants – AGNSW, AGSA, MCA, McClelland, Mosman, Kaldor – and that’s just in the visual arts.
15. Gerard Vaughan
Dickie-bow wearing director of the NGA.
14. Richard Bell
The ratbag moral conscience of the Australian art world.
13. John Kaldor
True or false: just tell your barber, “give me the Kaldor” [True].
12. David Gonski
Give a Gonski.
11. Tony Ellwood
Australian art, touring behemoths, national treasures – and Ellwood makes it look easy… and fun.
10. Lisa Havilah
Schwartz bequest [$500k], + Biennale venue, + The National 2017 = Havilah, queen of all she surveys…
9. Rupert Myer
Chairman of Ozco and the Myer Foundation who is backing a ‘new approach to arts advocacy’. Watch this space.
8. Simon Mordant
The thin man of Australian art with a big fat wallet.
7. Besen Family
6. Barry Keldoulis
The man with all the top jobs, director of Sydney Contemporary and now Art Month. Next year, he’s doing Christmas.
5. Elizabeth Ann Macgregor
4. David Walsh
Bread and circuses.
3. Ben Quilty
If profile equals power, no other Australian artist is more powerful than BBQ.
2. Tim Etchells
Not in it for the money.
1. Judith Neilson
White Rabbit, Indigo Slam and definitely no curtains or “fancy electronics”.