As 2015 draws to a close, Artsy parsed the year’s art to determine which artists, exhibitions, and creative hubs wielded the greatest influence.
We scoured a vast cache of information: Using UBS’s art news app Planet Art, we scanned 146,000 articles, searching for artists mentioned, influential exhibitions, and hotly debated news. From Artsy, we culled pageviews, follows, and inquiries for over 50,000 artists. And from influential curators and collectors, we gathered input on creatives they believe are influencing the art landscape—and culture at large.
The artists, exhibitions, cities, and events gathered below reveal a year of boundaries being broken—of contemporary art becoming increasingly diverse and dispersed, and of artists asserting influence in the wider cultural and political sphere.
This year’s most influential living artists represent an expansive sweep of mediums, genders, nationalities, and even ages. While museum regulars and market darlings (many of them men) rightly remain on the list, some lesser-known names, bolstered by practices that integrate art with social critique, have risen to the surface.
A triumvirate of long-canonized names—Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, and Damien Hirst—returns to this list. Each pioneered new approaches to their favored mediums, and today their groundbreaking works are heralded in museums the world over, garner record prices on the auction block, and continue to influence emerging practices.