The Power Trip 2020

Art Life , Stuff , Uncategorized Dec 16, 2019 5 Comments

It’s past time for a change in the Australian art world. So we decided that for this year’s Power Trip it was a chance to put some of that will to change into action, and in the spirit of solidarity and support for a righteous and just cause, we’ve rejigged the entire list.

And so, for 2020, we have a brand new batch of contenders who’ve refreshed not just our line up, but who’re also doing the actual good work in the real world.

What do we mean by power? There’s the influence that money can buy; the administrative power of government departments and private organisations; the influence of influencers; and the power of artists. Our 2020 list has its fair share of representatives of these categories, but in a break with the lists of the past seven years, we also note that this isn’t just the art world that we want, it’s the art world we deserve.

 There are lots of new names here, and quite a few who’ve hung on, or shot up the list. We’ve also retained a few names as honourable exceptions to the rule. Please enjoy.

100. Lauren Carol Harris [New]

Video art in your email, Twitter rants, many hats. 

99. Anneke Jaspers [New]

Swapped teams, now Senior Curator of Collections at the MCA. 

98. Team PARI [New]

We need a new artist-run space at Parramatta? Done! 

97. Spence Messih and Archie Barry [New]

Artists responsible for the new NAVA guidelines on working with trans, non-binary and gender diverse creatives.

96The Cementa Team [New]

Ace regional arts collective leading the way,

95. Lisa Havilah [Return]

Guess who’s back…

94. Kylie Kwong [New]

Celebrity chef and now BoS 2020 artist – we hoping for green ants for dessert.

93. Anouska Phizacklea [New]

Unsung Director of MUMA. 

92. Mariam Arcilla [New]

Writer and gallery manager at Station (Syd). If you haven’t met her yet, you will soon. 

91. Danielle Renshaw [New]

Coming soon in Brisbane. 

90. Susi Muddiman [Return]

Head honcho at Tweed Regional Gallery, now member of the Create NSW Visual Arts Board.

89. Bec Dean [LY 89 | – ]

She’s in charge of most things – and a dab hand with a hammer.

88. The MEMO Review Team [LY 88 |- ]

Where would Melbourne art criticism be without them?

87. Amy Barrett-Leonard [New]

Doing great things at Perth Institute of Contemporary Art. 

86. Olivia Radonich [New]

We’ve heard good things about The Reading Room and that’s good enough for us. 

85. Amala Groom [New]

Artist, activist. 

84. Amanda Rowell [ LY 95 | + 9]

Great artists going places.

83. Naomi Riddle [LY 83 | – ]

Everything we know we learned from Running Dog

82. Emily Cormack [New]

Melbourne Art Fair’s artistic director 2020.

81. TEAM This Is No Fantasy [LY 84 | + 3]

If only they could stop talking to each other at art fairs.

80. Amanda Love [LY 82 | + 2]

Hyper connected super advisor.

79. Maree Di Pasquale [LY 79 | – ]

Has the CEO and 2020 Melbourne Art Fair Director got the recipe right this time?

78. Byron School of Art team [LY 85 + 7]

Moving into the twenties their ‘artists teaching artists’ model continues to evolve. 

77. Fiona Lowry [LY 77 | – ]

Top notch.

76. Liz Nowell [New]

From Adelaide’s ACE Open to Executive Director of Brisbane’s IMA means Nowell has plenty on her plate. 

75. Teresa Biet [New]

Incubating emerging artists.

74. Jo Holder [New]

Continually producing innovative shows at Cross Art Projects. 

73. Natalie King [73]


72. Isobel Parker Philip [New]

Moving in with a bullet in her new position as Senior Curator of Australian Art at AGNSW.

71. Julie Gough [New]

Artist, researcher and curator based in Tasmania.

70. Barbara Flynn [LY 70 |- ]

Public art City of Sydney

69. Jasmin Stephens [New]

You know who she is even if you don’t know who she is.

68. Julie Ewington [New]

Writing, tour guiding, mentoring and more. 

67.  Joanna Mendelssohn [New]

Academic, critic, and co-author of Australian Art Exhibitions: opening our eyes – and keeping the bastards honest.

66. Nell [LY 67 | + 1]

New public art.

65. Joan Ross [New]

Artist, mentor, perfect party guest.

64. Chloe Wolifson

Breaking into the mainstream art reviewing game is no easy task.

63. The Lockup Curators [LY 60 | – 3]

Freeing the arts in Newcastle.

62. Maud Page [New]

Deputy Director and the human face of AGNSW.

61. Katrina Sedgwick [New]

ACMI boss taking the show on the road…

60. Wendy Whiteley [LY 63 | + 3  ]

You still have to ask Wendy if it’s ok.

59. Alison Kubler [New]

Vault, boards, etc. Power in her own right.

58.  Angela Tiatia [New]

Artist on the rise.

57. Sally Smart [New]

Major show for 2020 with some up-and-comer named Matisse.

56. Gina Fairley [LY 56 | – ]

Got it covered for Artshub. 

55. Lisa Slade [New]

AGSA, head curator of Quilty.

54. Del Kathryn Barton [LY 54 | – ]

Every high school kid knows who she is.

53. Emma O’Neill [New]

Festival Director, Art Month Sydney.

52. Georgia Hobbs [New]

She’s moved beyond the Draft to be the new Artistic Director at Art Month Sydney.

51. Nicole Durling [Return]


50. Yhonnie Scarce [New]

A must-have for most exhibitions 

49. Dr. Gene Sherman [LY 49 | – ]

Big bubbles no trouble

48. Tracy Cooper-Lavery [LY 51| + 3]

No one hotter at HOTA

47. Karla Dickens [LY 75 | + 28 ]

On the way to the top

46. Nina Miall [New]

Tarrawarra Biennial 2020

45. Team Countess Report [New]

Taking names.

44. Karen Quinlan [LY 98 | + 54]

From Bendigo to the National Portrait Gallery

43. Tracey Moffatt [LY 46 | + 3]

Old school. 

42. Clothilde Bullen [New]

Senior Curator Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections and Exhibitions, MCA. And that’s offical.

41. Susan Borham [LY 41 | – ]

Art edit empire.

40. Carolyn Fletcher [New]

The Board at the National Art School must be doing something right.

39. Miranda Wallace [LY 44 | +5]

From MoMA at NGV to…

38. Soda_Jerk [LY 39 | +1]

Terror Nullius among the best of the decade.

37. Brook Andrew [LY 76 | +39]

Rethinking who is an ‘artist’ for the Biennale of Sydney. 

36. Deborah Kelly [New]

Women with knives! 

35. Victoria Lynn [LY 35 | – ]


34. Leigh Robb [New]

2020 Adelaide Biennial.

33. Kate Mills [New]

Top job at BoS board

32. Agatha Gothe-Snape [New]

No other artist appears nine times over three years in The National.

31. Gabrielle Mordy [New]

CEO and Artistic director at Studio A supported studios.

30. Lisa Fehily [New]

Female artists only.

29. Janet Whiting [New]

Chair of the Board, The National Gallery of Victoria.

28. Sarah Cottier [LY 25 | – 3]

Keen direction, cool space. 

27. Penny Clive [New]

Detached, Hobart.

26. Lauretta Morton [New]

In charge of Newcastle.

25. Rhana Davenport [LY 84 | + 59]

Still catching her breath at AGSA.

24. Rachel Kent [Return]

The Chief Curator MCA + Cornelia Parker

23. Kaylene Whiskey [New]

Prominent APY artist and winner of the 2019 John Sulman Prize.

22. Roslyn Oxley [LY 22 | – ]

Rock on at Roxley

21. Eva Besen [LY 13 | – 8]

Keeping the lights on. 

20. Lesley Harding [New]

Artistic Director at Heide MoMA – where they’ve included at least one male artist in their 2020 exhibition line-up. 

19. Jan Minchin [LY 19 | – ]

Hanging tough. 

18. Naomi Milgrom [LY 20 | + 2]

Foundation and empire.

17. Fiona Foley [New]

A 30-year career survey of Foley’s work opens in January at the National Art School. 

16. Ursula Sullivan & Joanna Strumpf [LY 23 | +7]

Slowly, gradually, surely, one of the best line ups on the commercial scene.

15. Daniel Mudie Cunningham [LY 45 | + 30]

Katthy Cavaliere scholarship.

14. Patricia Piccinini [LY 26 | + 12]

While some non-Australians still haven’t heard of her, in 2020 she’ll introduce Skywhalepapa

13. Alexie Glass-Kantor [LY 52 | + 39]

Venice +

12. Kerry Gardner [LY 59 | + 47]

“Boardrooms full of older men are the wet blanket of exciting cultural planning.” – K. Gardner, The Age.

11. Penelope Seidler [New]

Old school philanthropy.

10. Janet Holmes a Court [LY 27 | +17]


9. Anna Schwartz [LY 16 | + 7]

[Singing] Mem-ori-eeeeees!

8. Esther Anatolitis [LY 53 | + 45]

Although the Feds think the arts should be invisible, they just can’t silence the head of NAVA. 

7. Lindy Lee [LY 34 | + 27]

Artist, mentor.

6. Catriona Mordant [LY 12 | + 6]

The better half of the Mordant duo.

5. Judith Neilson [LY 2 | – 3]

Throw some of that sweet sweet art money over here! 

4. CJ Hendry [LY 78 | + 74]

Name another Australian artist whose last exhibition had queues around the block, who appeared in the New York Times, and has bought an English church to show in 2020…

3. Nick Mitzevich [LY 11 | + 8]

The head of the National Gallery of Australia embraced the #knowmyname faith with gusto for 2020.

2. Nici Cumpston [LY 69 | + 67]

Was the 2019 iteration of Tarnanthi at AGSA the best reviewed show of the year? 

1. Elizabeth Ann Macgregor [LY 9 | +8]

‘From pariah to popular’ the MCA head and CIMAM President also breezed in to the Art Review Power 100. 

The Art Life


  1. Clothilde Bullen

    Hey guys! My name is on here but I think you have it wrong – there is no Chief Curator at AGNSW but the Head of International Art is Justin Paton. Perhaps you were thinking of him?

    Would have been good to see an Indigenous curator on here (not necessarily me but there are many of us doing good things 🙂

    Always a good read though 🙂


  2. admin

    We meant MCA, obvs – Art Life Management.

  3. Clothilde Bullen

    Ha Ha!! Except I’m the Senior Curator Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections and Exhibitions… this is too funny.. love your work x

  4. admin

    We stand by our proven track record of being correct at least 50% of the time – Art Life Management

  5. Look at all those women! Bloody wonderful, all.

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