The Power 100: Qatar leads but emerging regions lag – ArtReview 100

ArtReview has named the Qatari Emir’s sister as the most influential person in art today, but old-world art players still dominate overall.

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, sister of the Emir of Qatar, topped ArtReview‘s annual ‘100 most influential’ list on 24 October 2013 thanks to her steerage of Qatar’s enthusiastic art buying agenda. The Sheikha leads in list otherwise dominated by figures from the established art capitals of London and New York.

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority. Image from pinchukfund.org.

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, art’s most powerful person. Image courtesy Pinchuk Foundation.

Contemporary art magazine ArtReview named Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani as 2013’s most powerful individual in the art world in its Power 100, an annual overview of art’s most influential figures. The thirty-year-old Sheika, who is the sister of the Emir of Qatar and head of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), has overseen a national art-collecting spree that has seen the country spend upwards of USD1 billion a year.

The Sheikha’s rise to prominence has been rapid: her first ranking on ArtReview‘s Power 100 was in 2011, at a lowly No. 90. 2013 marks the second consecutive year that the list, which is compiled by a thirteen-member international jury, has been topped by a woman, with Italian-Bulgarian curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev named No. 1 in 2012.

Speaking to Reuters, ArtReview Editor Mark Rappolt said of the Sheikha’s prime position: “I think the figures definitely speak for themselves, and of the importance she has for the art market.

In her role at the helm of the QMA, Sheikha Al Mayassa has overseen an era of colossal spending in Qatar. In an effort to fill Doha’s museums, the Museum Authority has purchased some of the twentieth century’s most sought-after artworks, including the 2012 purchase of Cézanne’s The Card Players, reputedly bought at auction for USD250 million, the highest price ever paid for an artwork. Other works recently added to the Qatari collection include a Mark Rothko at a then-record-breaking USD73 million, and a Damien Hirst medicine cabinet for USD10 million, both in 2007.

This buying record means Qatar spent “roughly 30 times what MoMA spent on artwork in its last financial year and a whopping 175 times what Tate invested“, according to ArtReview.

Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, down to ArtReview's No. 9.

Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, down to ArtReview’s No. 9.

Despite Sheikha Al Mayassa’s lead, players from old world art bastions still dominate the list, with North America and Europe contributing a preponderance of names. New York gallerist David Zwirner takes second place, and the top ten include names such as Larry Gagosian, the Tate‘s Nicholas Serota and Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director of the 2013 Venice Biennale. China’s ‘dissident artist’ Ai Weiwei places ninth, down from his 2011 high of No.1.

The Sheikha and Ai are the sole non-western figures in the top forty, and only one African, artist El Anatsui, makes the Power 100. Other names from emerging regions are:

Cassandra Naji

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Related Topics: Qatari art, international art, lists, art world happenings, art goes global

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