Sheikha Al-Mayassa tops ArtReview Power 100 list

ArtReview magazine’s annual Power 100 list is one of the most authoritative guides on who in the industry has been making an impact over the past 12 months. It certainly makes for interesting conversation and this year’s line-up is one of the most exciting in a long while.
Topping the list is, to give her full name, Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. A difficult name to remember, you’d be forgiven for not really knowing who she is. Well, Sheikha Al-Mayassa for short, is the head of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA).
That in itself may not be too impressive, but the 30-year-old is in command of financial resources her equivalent peers can only dream of. Money matters in art; you can’t get away from that reality.
As ArtReview explains, when it comes to sheer buying power, the QMA is way ahead of other similar institutions. It is estimated that it spends around $1 billion a year on art, which is 30 times more than what the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art spent in 2012, and 175 times more than what Tate invested.
“No wonder, then, that whenever Sheikha Al-Mayassa is in town, everyone from government ministers to mayors queue up to pay their respects – as British culture minister Ed Vaizey and London mayor Boris Johnson did during her recent visit to the capital,” the magazine noted.
“Sheikha Al-Mayassa’s influence is not merely confined to international art salerooms and the goings-on in the dusty Gulf state. The QMA sponsored last year’s Damien Hirst retrospective at Tate, a version of which is now in Doha, and this year it sponsored a cultural exchange with Britain under the banner Qatar UK 2013.”
Her office is managed by former Christie’s chairman Edward Dolman, who has been involved with the QMA since 2011. This was a significant move, as Mr Dolman, regarded as an influential figure, had been with the auction house for the best part of 27 years.
What makes this number one ranking even more notable is that it is the second time in as many years that a woman has topped the list, with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, curator of the prominent Documenta 13 exhibition in Kassel, Germany, securing the top spot in 2012. This is positive in an industry where many of the most powerful positions are dominated by men.
Following Sheikha Al-Mayassa in second place is the international gallerist David Zwirner; and then equal counterpart Iwan Wirth; Larry Gagosian; directors of the Serpentine Galleries Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones; and Nicolas Serota, director of the Tate.
This year’s list is certainly going to be a hot topic of conversation, as it also includes some prominent omissions. In particular, art collector Charles Saatchi, who has previously topped the list, and artist Damien Hirst, who had came in at a very respectable 42 last year, did not make it in 2013’s definitive list.
“It’s partly a reflection of the fact you don’t find many artists claiming to be from the school of Damien Hirst” Mark Rappolt, editor of ArtReview was quoted by the Guardian as saying. “It’s about influence, and the 1990s to a lot of people can seem like a long time ago.”
Cadogan Tate can ship works of art from Qatar to your chosen destination anywhere in the world.