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Swiss curator tops modern art’s power list

London — Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist was named the most powerful figure in the contemporary art world on Thursday, but Britain’s Damien Hirst fell almost 50 places in ArtReview magazine’s "Power 100" list.

Obrist, co-director of exhibitions and programmes and director of international projects at London’s Serpentine Gallery, was described as "one of the most active and well-networked figures the contemporary art world has seen".

The Guardian newspaper called him "not so much a curator as a human whirlwind" and noted it was the first time a curator, rather than an artist or a museum director, had topped the annual list, now in its eighth year.

Obrist rose to the top spot from 35th place in 2008.

ArtReview said the financial crisis led to major changes in the rankings, with a third of 2008’s entries falling out of the annual top 100.

Charles Saatchi, the British collector who helped the careers of artists such as Hirst and Tracey Emin, fell from number 14 in 2008 to number 72 in 2009.

Hirst’s company Science topped the list in 2008, but the recession and the drop in prices of his work demoted him to 48th place.

In a change from his previous work, which often featured animals preserved in formaldehyde, Hirst is currently showing a collection of paintings of skulls in the formal setting of the Wallace Collection in London.

Glenn D Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, comes second in the list, while the director of London’s Tate, Nicholas Serota, is third.

The list, published in ArtReview‘s November issue, is compiled by the London-based magazine’s staff, in consultation with a global network of contributing editors and an international panel.

The top 10 of the ArtReview Power 100
1. Hans Ulrich Obrist
2. Glenn D Lowry
3. Sir Nicholas Serota
4. Daniel Birnbaum
5. Larry Gagosian
6. Francois Pinault
7. Eli Broad
8. Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda and Brian Kuan Wood
9. Iwona Blazwick
10. Bruce Nauman

AFP / Expatica