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Documenta 13 Curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev Tops 2012 ArtReview Power 100 List

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This morning, for the first time since ArtReview began publishing its Power 100 list of art world movers and shakers more than a decade ago, its top spot was occupied by a woman: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, who curated this year’s attendance record-setting Documenta 13 exhibition — which Modern Painters’s Steven Henry Madoff deemed “the most important exhibition to date of the 21st century” — spanning three continents.

While the number one may be a surprise — last year Christov-Bakargiev landed at 14 — the next two slots are familiar faces: last year’s top seed, artist and activist Ai Weiwei in third position, and mega-gallerist Larry Gagosian in second.

The rest of the list boasts the typical ArtReview mix of curators, museum directors, gallerists, collectors, and big-name artists, with a few critics and scholars thrown in for good measure. For complete analysis of this year’s list, check out ARTINFO UK’s full breakdown, which includes the entire list.

— Benjamin Sutton

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  1. I would like to explain the reason of my criticisms to C.C.B. The point is that Bakargiev was active for years in one of the richest (!) institutions of contemporary art in Italy, the Castello di Rivoli (Turin) as chief curator and director.
    Bakargiev’s “style” bears all the features of many Italian critics that have made this country a very difficult place for an independent artist: unrestrained narcissism and self-promotion that put the role of the artist in the background; absence of aesthetic sense that have been replaced with exhausting intellectualism administered in such doses as to daze the observer; incapacity of starting from the work of art to understand the art: it is instead used as an illustration and a visual appendix by Mr. So-and-so academic critic. But, the cunning conjurer on the one hand puts on a show and confuses the spectator whilst on the other hand she puts into practice old tricks. During the C.C.B-years, the Rivoli was part of a chain called “Museo senza centro”, seemingly a project to promote “young art”, but actually a chain of museums aimed to give space to a list of artists called “Italian Area” chosen by Angela Vettese (who works with Bakargiev for a newspaper and who has been severely criticized for her conflict of interests and her absurd articles), Bertola, Farronato, Scardi. Some of the Italian artists invited to Documenta belong to the Italian Area database.
    CCB’s husband page in “Italian Area” database
    http://www.italianarea.it/index.php//?idartista=1340032975

  2. Looking around the forums, I realize that few people know anything about CCB, Castello di Rivoli Museum, the daily newspaper “Il Sole 24 Ore”, Italian art-lobbies, “Museo Senza Centro” affaire, etc…
    Documenta 13? All that theoretical confusion has been useful to give out opinions on any matter – of which she lacks synthesizing skill – and to give a lot of space to one of the artists who had already exhibited at the Rivoli: an artist of Arte Povera, a current not conceived by CCB, but mainly referable to Turin, the city of the Rivoli museum.
    After graduation, Christov-Bakargiev moved to Rome and began to write as an art critic for daily newspaper “Il Sole 24 Ore”. It’s important to learn how to read between the lines so that you can avoid being tricked by manipulated contemporary-art articles published in “Il Sole 24 Ore”.
    A controversial article by Angela Vettese: she wrote 1 very offending piece against Paparoni and Kapoor in this Italian newspaper.
    Here Paparoni reaffirms his freedom of thought and action:

    http://tranqui2.blogspot.it/2012/10/the-conflicts-of-interests-of-angela.html

  3. “The conflict of interests of Angela Vettese, who reads the sublime in the coffee grounds”. Article by Demetrio Paparoni.

    Full translation of the article below (with bad Google Translate). You get the idea.

    The exhibition of Anish Kapoor at the Fabbrica del Vapore and the Rotonda della Besana in Milan has created some concern. Not of course for the 14,000 visitors recorded in less than twenty days after opening. Rather, those critics who never miss a chance to promote themselves as curators of major events.
    After the joke by Francesco Bonami, who decries the first artist and the exhibition (“Vanity Fair” 01.06.2011) and then turns around (“Gazzetta dello Sport” of 06.09.2011), now is the time of Angela Vettese (“Sole24Ore” 19.6.2011). Her article contains false information, perhaps Vettese becomes strong that the “Sole24Ore” does not permit denials or corrections (as shown below). According Vettese, Kapoor’s works at the fair in Basel “reveal the mechanisms that govern promotion also shows non-commercial”. She adds: “For some it may be grossly explicit, for others it is now clear: for example, because at the moment in Italy there are three exhibitions dedicated to Anglo-Indian artist Anish Kapoor, artist for years but always impressive not the most innovative, whose work always pulls the consent of those who do not even know anything about contemporary art for his play on the phenomena of perception? Clear. The galleries that sell works they are doing an operation of growth in prices, and in fact fill their booth of his works.” So Gianni Mercurio and I would have organized these exhibitions, being built with public money, on the recommendation of the galleries, to further their market interests.

    The article expressed falsehoods demand a response which I hope will open a debate over the Web. Kapoor exhibitions in Milan have been proposed by me and Gianni Mercurio to Madeinart, which in turn, assuming strong economic risks, asked the City of Milan intestarsele to grant space and funding, not from private galleries have been proposed, on whose role it is said later. The interests of private galleries and the market are foreign to our way of working.
    But while accusing Vettese (though without naming) the exhibition’s curators have made a commercial to promote the interests of the galleries, what she is doing?
    Signing a script for a famous brand of coffee, in order to promote the cups designed by Kapoor who are being placed on the market. Read a little ‘what she writes:
    “Just a cup, like all works by Kapoor, passing from art to life and summarizes, in a painful form of mental situations which doubt, ambivalence, but the error was as happy as the mystery, surprise, the desire to understand what I observe and find out who we are “. In short, the second cup of Vettese Kapoor allows “to understand what I observe and find out who we are.” Stuff of creepy. As this text may have been well paid – always Vettese not have written for free as a tribute to the artist or the quality of coffee (that we tell her) – is not it a bit ‘too?
    Maybe he had some kind of shock Vettese contemplating cup Kapoor, but do not think that these statements touch on the ridiculous?
    Do you realize that Vettese gives certainly the interest of galleries in a show that revolves around a high steel sculpture of 9 meters long and 62 but is normal to sign a text that presents masterpieces as coffee cups, cups advertised in the context a public exhibition in Venice sponsored by a famous brand of coffee and avowedly assembled and edited by a private gallery?
    Kapoor’s exhibition at the Steam Factory in Milan revolves around Dirty Corner, a sculptural huge and not easy to sell. At the request of the artist, his private galleries have financed the work. As happens regularly all over the world in such exhibitions. It could not have been otherwise, since it is unthinkable that a public administration from funding the production of a work that later someone can sell. Such a practice would be illegal. Imagine the delight of the gallery that you see from their own artist invited to shell out money for the building of a mammoth. Usually the galleries can not help to satisfy him, because they want to maintain a relationship with him, but they sure do not like doing. According Vettese you do not know these things?In her agitation, Vettese lets go to the construction of false information. It is true that this year Kapoor is present in the stands as the Basel Fair in previous years. The Galleria Continua, for example, this year has presented works by Kapoor, contrary to last year. As for the Lisson gallery, Gladstone and Minini, have always presented works by Kapoor in their booth at Basel. It is true that Kapoor is not proposing a groundbreaking work for years: he never ceased to risk, featuring several works every tim, experimenting with new forms
    and materials, as anyone who follows the facts calmly art.
    It is true that the consent Kapoor tears for his works based on perceptual phenomena, as demonstrated by the interest aroused by her wax sculptures and metal or concrete ones.The wind is changing the entire country, and hopefully in the art world.
    Is changing to the point that for some time now, may even happen that critics and independent curators like Gianni Mercurio and myself – with no protections of any kind – come to realize one of the most important exhibitions of recent years in Italy. Denigrating is part of an old strategy. Vettese, moreover, is not new to some concerns: last year when Gianni Mercurio has cared for the Milan Triennale exhibition of Roy Lichtenstein, who would later show hosted by Ludwig in Cologne, wrote an article full of news untrue later denied by the Gianni Mercurio to the “Sole 24 Ore”. In defiance of the principles of fairness that every newspaper should be the guarantor, the request for correction was ignored. Just to understand the boldness of character, read the letter published by the “Sole 24.” Now, to be ignored my polite request was made to Armando Massarenti replication: I had
    been assured that I would be attracted by the newspaper, but it did not happen.
    In the U.S., those who viewed the shows on the major newspapers (this is not true of course for the magazines) is not himself the curator of exhibitions in order to avoid a conflict of interest. In such a case, moreover, is the legitimate suspicion of lack of objectivity.
    Thanks to the Internet, who does not access the media of large circulation can
    defend themselves from the barons of the critics. And you can reply to those who are also protected by the printed press: the king is naked. Passate parola.

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