Here at GalleristNY we initially resisted the idea of creating a Power List (anyone who reads The Observer will know that they are treasured here), until we realized we could use one to make a point.
There has been a lot of press about women in the art world recently, but for some reason this talk has been for the most part limited to women who work in galleries. Vogue profiled Gagosian’s female employees (the “Gagosiennes), New York magazine’s fashion blog, The Cut, recently looked at the sartorial choices of gallery assistants and a piece in the The New Yorker questioned their very existence.
And of course there is the upcoming Bravo reality series Paint The Town, which, according to advance promotion, will follow the trials, tribulations and, presumably, the night life of a bunch of young gallery assistants.
What gets left out in the current discussion is the fact that women hold positions of real power in the art world. Many may have started out as the women who work the front desk, but now they are the ones who decide whether or not you get to buy that painting, or have that museum show. They raise money for museums, source pictures and write reviews. Attesting to the power of women in the art world, this was an excruciatingly difficult list to narrow down. Also, we would like to emphasize that the order is random: the list is not ranked.
In The Observer‘s pages, we recently profiled Paula Cooper, one of New York’s legendary dealers. In the slideshow that follows, we give you the 50 most powerful women in New York’s modern and contemporary art world.
Rachel Lehmann – dealer
Along with partner David Maupin, Rachel Lehmann has assembled an idiosyncratic mixture of today’s leading artists, from Tracey Emin to Gilbert & George to Angel Otero, at Lehmann Maupin. Though she has two New York spaces, she recently organized a temporary exhibition in the fast-rising art capital of Istanbul, courting new money and power in a scene that is flush with both.
Andrea Glimcher – The Pace Gallery, director of communications
Given all those high-profile artists to manage, it can’t be easy to be director of communications at Pace, which is arguably the second most powerful gallery in the world, second only to Larry Gagosian. But Andrea Glimcher never lets you see her sweat. Ms. Glimcher serves on the art council of the Dia Art Foundation, along with her husband, Pace Gallery president Marc, and was instrumental in Pace’s recent decision to buy space under the High Line. With a London gallery on the way, we’ll be hearing more from Ms. Glimcher in years to come.
Ann Temkin – Museum of Modern Art, chief curator
As chief curator of MoMA's formidable collections, Ms. Temkin has the power to shape discussions of art history, which she has been doing with her ongoing reorganization of the museum’s permanent galleries. With access to one of the nation’s biggest acquisitions budgets and more space on the way, as the museum readies its latest expansion, Ms. Temkin’s power is poised to expand in coming years.
Amy Cappellazzo – Christie’s, chairman of international post-war and contemporary art development
With her promotion in May to her current position, this former curator’s star has quickly risen. Ms. Cappellazzo is credited with playing a major role in the department’s record-breaking auctions of 2004 and 2007. "They'd prefer to spend $500,000 here or at auction on something they could buy privately for $50,000,” the rainmaker once told The Times, of her clients. “These people are traders, and they're incredibly savvy about markets." So is Ms. Capellazzo, who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to tempt collectors into bringing top material to market year after year.
Amanda Sharp – Frieze Art Fair and Frieze, co-founder
As if being the co-founder of Frieze magazine—arguably the art world’s second most respected monthly magazine—wasn’t enough, Ms. Sharp now stages the massively influential Frieze Art Fair with her partner Matthew Slotover. Introduce yourself to her at the first New York edition of the fair next spring on Randall’s Island. Though that far-flung location has raised some doubts in the New York art world, she is giving the long-running Armory Show a run for its money.
Clarissa Dalrymple – curator and art advisor
Called “the most aristocratic bohemian on New York’s contemporary art scene” by T Magazine, Ms. Dalrymple has factored into the careers of too many artists to count, Matthew Barney, Damien Hirst and Neo Rauch among them. An able saleswoman for a number of today’s young artists, the advisor has been a fixture of the New York art world for decades (she ran the Cable Gallery in the early 1980’s with gallerist Nicole Klagsbrun), meaning that she knows absolutely everyone. She was introduced to the new generation last year with a cameo in director Lena Dunham’s twee-set hit film Tiny Furniture.
Cindy Sherman – artist
She may not always be recognized at parties, but Ms. Sherman’s playful, haunting self-portraits explore the multifarious aspects of personality, and are always top sellers at auction: she hit her all-time high this year with an untitled work that sold for $3.8 million, the most ever paid at auction for a photograph. MoMA will present a retrospective with her (for the second time) in February.
Marian Goodman – dealer
One of the most important dealers of the last three decades, Ms. Goodman represents such powerhouses as John Baldessari, Gerhard Richter, Tino Sehgal, Dan Graham and Maurizio Cattelan. Operating out of both New York and Paris, she has helped grow the careers of some of the world’s most important artists. After her New York gallery closed a few years ago, painter Julie Mehretu was courted by many dealers, but picked Ms. Goodman, testifying to the gallerist’s continued relevance with young artists. Fun fact: the Goodman Gallery, which has remained on 57th Street for decades (just blocks from MoMA) is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday.
Marie-Josee Kravis – collector and patron
Ms. Kravis, wife of billionaire financier Henry Kravis, is one of the art world’s most important benefactors and patrons. As the president of the board of the Museum of Modern Art, she has donated around $10 million to that museum alone. Glance at the labels on contemporary artworks in MoMA’s collection and one will find no shortage of works donated by Ms. Kravis and her husband, giving her powerful sway in art dealers’ back rooms.
Beth Rudin DeWoody – collector and patron
An impresario of the old-school model for contemporary art, Ms. DeWoody’s homes in New York and West Palm Beach, Florida, are jam-packed with Cindy Shermans, Nan Goldins and Andy Warhols. Her diverse tastes are a testament to her immersion in the art world: she used to be married to the artist Jim DeWoody and was an early supporter of Tom Sachs and John Waters. Given her extensive collecting, she can play a major role in determining the success of an artist—and his or her gallery.
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