Top 17 Asian artists 2009: Art Radar's most-searched artists

TOP ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS

We have been up and running for over 18 months now and we receive over 25,000 page views a month. Our readers come to us in various ways: via links from other websites, from twitter, facebook and other social media, from our email newsletter, from word of mouth referrals and of course via search engines.

Many readers find us by typing a specific artist name into Google or another search engine and finding a story or image written by Art Radar. Our analytics package tracks these search terms for us and we thought you might be interested in this data too.

Wucius Wong

Wucius Wong

We can’t claim that this list is a reliable proxy for the most-searched Asian artists on the internet overall (take a look at our caveats below). However we do think the list throws up some fascinating data.

  1. Takashi Murakami – Male Japanese anime painter and sculptor – 34,000 searches
  2. Anish Kapoor – Male British Indian sculptor – 3,500
  3. Shirin Neshat – Female Iranian photographer – 2,200
  4. Cao Fei – Female Chinese photographer and new media artist – 550
  5. I Nyoman Masriadi – Male Indonesian painter – 520
  6. Yoshitaka Amano – Male Japanese anime artist – 460
  7. Ori Gersht – Male Israeli photographer – 380
  8. Terence Koh – Male Canadian Chinese photographer, installation and multimedia artist – 340
  9. AES+F – Russian photography and video collective – 320
  10. Ronald Ventura – Male Filipino painter – 280
  11. Hiroshi Sugimoto – Male Japanese photographer – 260
  12. Farhad Moshiri – Male Iranian painter – 240
  13. Subodh Gupta – Male Indian painter, installation artist – 210
  14. Farhad Ahrarnia – Female Iranian thread artist – 180
  15. Gao Xingjian – Male Chinese ink artist – 180
  16. Jitish Kallat – Male Indian painter – 170
  17. Wucius Wong – Male Hong Kong Chinese ink artist – 160

The most startling finding is the “‘winner takes all” phenomenon. Takashi Murakami searches are 10 times the second most-searched artist and more than 100 times most of the artists on the list. This correlates with some of the latest findings on internet searches which are tending towards an L shape ie  there are blockbuster categories and a long tail of niches in which a vast number of categories each receive very few searches.

I Nyoman Masriadi

I Nyoman Masriadi

The well-known book “The Long Tail”‘ first brought the long tail phenomenon to light and it was expected that searchers given the choice would no longer need to cluster around a blockbuster because that was what was most readily available but would be able to choose between a myriad of interest categories. The latest research is showing that the long tail is indeed happening but that the long tail is not diminishing interest in blockbusters, instead the long tail is taking away from the middle-interest categories.

This pattern seems to be borne out in our data.  This trend could have some profound implications for the way that artists are marketed in the future. Perhaps art galleries as we now know them will go the way of independent bookstores and publishers, unable to afford the marketing costs needed to create blockbusters and unable to sell enough in the niches to survive. We would like to hear more about your thoughts on this subject in the comments section below.

Farhad Ahrarnia, The Struggle Within

Farhad Ahrarnia, The Struggle Within

Preferred media of most-searched artists

Most of the arists work in various media but in this list we have tagged them with the media they are best known for. Only 5 of the artists are known primarily for painting and this list is dominated by photographers, new media artists and sculptors.  Chinese ink, thread and anime make intriguing appearances on the list too.

Age

Most of the artists were born in the 1960s and 1970s as you would expect for a contemporary art site. But there are some surprise appearances for 2 older artists Gao Xingjian born 1940 and Wucius Wong born 1936. What is even more interesting is that both of these artists are Chinese and work in the same, very national genre of ink. While new media dominates, the inclusion of traditional Chinese ink art suggests a countertrend in which historical media and disciplines are being appreciated by contemporary art enthusiasts.

Gender

Male 13, Female 3, Mixed collective 1

Farhad Moshiri

Farhad Moshiri

Breakdown of nationalities

Chinese 4, Indian 3, Iranian 3, Japanese 3, Israeli, Indonesian, Filipino and Russian 1 each

While it is commonly known that there is now great international interest in the Chinese, Indian and Iranian art scenes we were fascinated to note the high ranking of two painters from Southeast Asia: Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi and Filipino Ronald Ventura.  The  Southeast Asian collector base is composed of a small group of prominent Indonesian Chinese businessmen collectors. Artists from Southeast Asia find themselves in a somewhat enclosed and isolated art scene and are rarely exhibited outside the region. We did not expect to see Southeast Asian artists achieving a high ranking for internet searches.

Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano

Notes

This list is not a reliable proxy for the most-searched artists on the internet overall. Here is why:

If we have not written a story on or tagged this artist, the search engines will not bring us traffic for this search term and it won’t appear on our traffic analysis stats page. As we have only been up for 18 months it is quite possible that we have not yet covered some higly-searched artists. And even if we have referenced an artist on our site and the artist is highly-searched, the searcher will not come to us unless we have a good page ranking for the story on the search engine.  For example if the story is, say, after page 4 of the search engine results, the searcher probably won’t find our story and will not appear in our stats. Despite these limitations the data is likely to be a reliable indicator for certain trends. Finally even if we have a story and the story is well-ranked, it may be that other stories on the same page are more alluring than ours and readers do not find their way to us.

More recent lists: June 2010

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