Black Lives Matter tops ArtReview’s Power 100 list in recognition of statue toppling


Black Lives Matter (BLM) has topped ArtReview magazine’s annual Power 100 list in recognition of the movement’s success in toppling statues of contested historical figures.

The publication’s list is normally headed by an influential artist, collector or curator.

The 2020 Power 100 however reflects the “impact of coronavirus, social justice movements and non-Western art scenes on the structures of the global art world.”

‘Resurgence of statue-toppling’

The magazine said BLM has “impelled and accelerated change at every level” in the art world, citing “the resurgence of statue-toppling in the US and across Europe, as campaigners seek to redress injustices of the historical record.”

The protester-led removal of statues of the slave traders Edward Colston in Bristol and Robert Milligan in London was criticised by ministers, who warned cultural institutions they could lose public funding, if they sanctioned similar action.

Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrate outside the former Museum of the Home calling for the removal of statue of merchant Sir Robert Geffrye (Photo: Getty)

The British Museum announced it was moving the bust of its founder, the slave owner Hans Sloane, to a less-prominent position.

Galleries ‘rush to diversify’

ArtReview said the influence of BLM could also be found “in the visibility of Black contemporary artists; in awards and appointments; in the rush by galleries to diversify their rosters; in museums rethinking who they represent and how they do it.”

A statue of Robert Milligan is removed outside the Museum of London Docklands near Canary Wharf, following the death of George Floyd who died in police custody in Minneapolis, June 2020 (Photo: Reuters)

British entrants on the list, chosen by 20 art world insiders, include Matthew Burrows, at number 37, who started the Artist Support Pledge Instagram initiative to help artists struggling financially due to axed exhibitions and sales during the pandemic.

The scheme committed artists, who sold work for a minimum of £200 to buy another artist’s work, when their own sales past the £1,000 mark. More than £1m in sales has been pledged.



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