Here at GalleristNY we initially resisted the idea of creating a Power List (anyone who reads The Observer will know that they are treasured here), until we realized we could use one to make a point.
There has been a lot of press about women in the art world recently, but for some reason this talk has been for the most part limited to women who work in galleries. Vogue profiled Gagosian’s female employees (the “Gagosiennes), New York magazine’s fashion blog, The Cut, recently looked at the sartorial choices of gallery assistants and a piece in the The New Yorker questioned their very existence.
And of course there is the upcoming Bravo reality series Paint The Town, which, according to advance promotion, will follow the trials, tribulations and, presumably, the night life of a bunch of young gallery assistants.
What gets left out in the current discussion is the fact that women hold positions of real power in the art world. Many may have started out as the women who work the front desk, but now they are the ones who decide whether or not you get to buy that painting, or have that museum show. They raise money for museums, source pictures and write reviews. Attesting to the power of women in the art world, this was an excruciatingly difficult list to narrow down. Also, we would like to emphasize that the order is random: the list is not ranked.
In The Observer‘s pages, we recently profiled Paula Cooper, one of New York’s legendary dealers. In the slideshow that follows, we give you the 50 most powerful women in New York’s modern and contemporary art world.