Adam Szymczyk

Adam Szymczyk enters Art Review's power list

Phaidon author and documenta curator is the highest new entry at number 21

Congratulations to dOCUMENTA curator and Phaidon author Adam Szymczyk who is the highest new entry in Art Review’s annual Power 100 list announced today. 

Szymczyk enters the list at number 21, joining fellow Phaidon author and creative photographer Wolfgang Tilmans who is at number 36. The Tate Director Sir Nicolas Serota, who has been in the list’s top 10 since it began in 2002, knocks the Qatari royal family’s Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani off the number one slot. 

Contextualising the well deserved choice of Sir Nicolas at the top slot, Art Review editor Mark Rappolt said: “Compared to some of the other institutions we discussed, Tate Modern very aggressively internationalised quite quickly. It is not a national collection: it is an international collection that happens to be in London, and that has been important to its success.”


Tate Director Sir Nicolas Serota
Tate Director Sir Nicolas Serota

The first artist on the list, chosen by the 26-member jury, is Phaidon author and performance artist Marina Abramović. Meanwhile Jeff Koons is at number 7 - up from number 56 last year thanks to a takeover of NYC this summer including a great retrospective at the Whitney. Cindy Sherman, the subject of a great Phaidon Focus book, is at number 10 in the list. Phaidon author and super curator Hans Ulrich Obrist is at number 6 with fellow Serpentine Director Julia Peyton-Jones. 

Szymczyk’s high entry at 21 though is the real cause for celebration. When we caught up with him at Frieze New York earlier this year he told us that he was involved in "a major strategic re-orientation of the whole idea and vision of documenta - not so much in terms of content of the exhibition but in terms of how it is organised. My first idea for documenta was structural - it was not so much about artistic content - and the very specific structure will hopefully produce content that is going to be captivating."

You can see the power list here and find out more about what Szymczyk thinks by taking a look at our book Defining Contemporary Art here. Szymczyk also conducts a great interview with Pawel Althamer in our Contemporary Artist series book on the artist here