Hirst company tops art power list on record sale

Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:51am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Science, the company behind contemporary artist Damien Hirst, topped ArtReview's annual power list on Tuesday, in recognition of the Briton's ongoing appeal to collectors despite financial market chaos.

It is the second time that Hirst or his company have topped the global ranking, which in 2008 also features a woman on her own in the top 10 for the first time.

Kathy Halbreich broke into the male-dominated world of contemporary art, coming third in this year's list of 100 names after she was appointed associate director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

But of around 30 artists in the ranking this year, only three were female.

"In the commercial sector, women tend to be well represented," said Laura Allsop at the ArtReview magazine.

"Institutionally they also do quite well. The problem stood out in terms of artists -- there are 20 or 25 male artists and only three female artists in the list."

Second in the list was U.S. collector, gallery owner and perennial art powerhouse Larry Gagosian, fourth was Britain's director of the Tate collection Nicholas Serota and fifth was Swiss gallerist Iwan Wirth.

Hirst, 43, shook up the contemporary art world last month by becoming the first major artist to sell works directly at auction rather than through the traditional, less transparent route of dealers and galleries.   Continued...

<p>British artist Damien Hirst poses for photographers during a preview of an upcoming auction of his work "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever" at Sotheby's in London September 8, 2008. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>