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Source: Reuters, Published October 19 2012

Hot Topics: Woman tops ArtReview list for first time

LONDON – A U.S.-born Italian-Bulgarian curator little known outside the art world has topped ArtReview magazine’s annual Power 100 list, the first female to do so in its 11-year history.

Previously topped by familiar names like artists Damien Hirst and Ai Weiwei and gallery supremo Larry Gagosian, the 2012 title went to Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, best known for curating the marathon Documenta 13 art fair staged in Kassel in Germany.

An art historian who wrote for newspapers before taking up curating in Italy, Christov-Bakargiev has been widely praised for staging a critically acclaimed edition of Documenta, held every five years and lasting for around 100 days.

“I don’t think you get extra points for being famous,” said Mark Rappolt, editor of ArtReview, commenting on a less than obvious choice of the art world’s most powerful individual.

“Art is about people who have an influence over what other people are producing.”

He praised Christov-Bakargiev for the “global scale and great ambition” of Documenta, and suggested that some members of the panel which came up with the 100-strong list had argued for more commercial figures in the art world to be at the summit.

“It’s not like it wasn’t contested,” Rappolt told Reuters. “I think the power of money is always pushing, as it were, but she was a contender all along.