Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, topped this year’s ArtReview Power 100 list, an annual ranking of key players in the contemporary art world. Appointed director in 1995, Lowry recently unveiled the museum’s $450-million renovation, which seeks to change the conversation around modern art history by rehanging the museum’s revered collection. At a recent press preview for MoMA’s reopening, Lowry said: “What makes modern and contemporary art exciting is precisely the debates and arguments that are still taking place.” Lowry jumped to the top spot from number 13 in last year’s ranking. Two other museum directors—Thelma Golden of the Studio Museum of Harlem and Maria Balshaw of the Tate museum group—are also included in the top 10, at numbers 7 and 9, respectively.
Artist and activist Nan Goldin took the second spot on the 2019 list. She has led the charge against the Sackler family and its company Purdue Pharma for their involvement in the opioid crisis. Goldin founded PAIN, or Prescription Addiction Intervention Now, in 2017, and held protests at the Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre this year to draw attention to funding the museums received from members of the Sackler family. As a result, the Met, the Guggenheim, and the Tate museum group have all given up Sackler funding, and the Louvre has removed the Sackler name from its walls. Goldin moved to the second spot from the 18th on last year’s list.
Goldin wasn’t the only activist to make the list in a year filled with institutional critique and protest. Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy, at the sixth spot, are strong advocates for restitution of artifacts taken by Western museums and institutions under suspect circumstances. Decolonize This Place, 19th on the Power 100 ranking, led protests at the Whitney Museum that prompted the resignation of Warren Kanders from its board this summer; the group has also participated in protests against two current MoMA board members.
Rounding out the top five of this year’s Power 100 are Hauser & Wirth owners Iwan & Manuela Wirth, German artist Hito Steyerl, and David Zwirner—the mega-dealer took the top spot last year, and Steyerl headed the 2017 edition of the ranking. Banksy, the elusive street artist, can be found at the 14th spot on the list.