Photographer who spearheaded Sackler fight rises up art power list

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Nan Goldin, the photographer who led the Sackler sponsorship protests in the wake of the opioid drug crisis, has been named one of the most powerful people in the art world.

The artist, 66, beat the likes of Tate director Maria Balshaw and street artist Banksy to make second place in ArtReview’s Power 100.

The National Portrait Gallery, Tate and the Roundhouse are among those to have turned down Sackler money.

Tate director Maria Balshaw (Ian West/PA)

Goldin, an artist since the 1970s, took action after her own addiction to OxyContin, following wrist surgery, alerted her to the scale of the opioid crisis in the US.

The National Portrait Gallery turned down a £1 million Sackler gift after Goldin threatened to pull out of a planned solo exhibition of her work.

The Sackler Trust is run by the Sackler family, members of which own Purdue Pharma, a company selling the prescription painkiller.

The director of the Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA), Glenn D Lowry, takes top spot in the 18th edition of the annual list of most influential players in contemporary art.

Banksy’s artwork, Girl With Balloon, which shredded itself after being sold for more than £1 million at auction (Sotheby’s/PA)

The New York institution has reopened with a “thorough rethinking of the museum model,” ArtReview magazine said.

Tate’s director Balshaw is ninth on the list, up from 17th place last year.

Outside the top 10, Banksy, who sparked headlines when his work Girl With Balloon partially shredded itself at Sotheby’s, is in 14th place.

The top 10 also includes academics Felwine Sarr and Benedicte Savoy, who accused the British Museum of having its “head in the sand” on the issue of the return of colonial-era artefacts.

The 90-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama,  ho staged naked protests in the 1960s and is today the “art world’s hottest ticket” thanks to her blockbuster shows, is eighth.

ArtReview’s Power 100 was compiled in consultation with a panel of 30 artists, curators and critics from around the world.

Top 10

1. Glenn D. Lowry (MoMA director)
2. Nan Goldin (Artist)
3. Iwan & Manuela Wirth (Gallery owners)
4. Hito Steyerl (Artist)
5. David Zwirner (Gallery owner)
6. Felwine Sarr and Benedicte Savoy (Economist/art historian)
7. Thelma Golden (director of  the Studio Museum in Harlem)
8. Yayoi Kusama (Japanese artist)
9. Maria Balshaw (Tate director)
10. Ruangrupa (Indonesian artist collective)