In 2017, a century since Marcel Duchamp turned a readymade urinal into an artwork, we’ve wondered how to characterize the past 100 years in art, posing challenging questions to some of the industry’s brightest figures: What are this century’s most iconic works of art? Who were last century’s most trailblazing curators? Today, we finish our three-part series with perhaps the most daunting question: Who was the most influential artist in the last 100 years?
It’s not an easy question, and there is no perfect answer. But a group of leading curators, artists, critics, and dealers were equal to the challenge, weighing in with their choices for artists whose legacies have defined the last 100 years and continue to reverberate in the work of artists today. The resulting list (below) is nothing short of a survey of modern art history, ranging from conceptual art forefather Duchamp to the video pioneer Nam June Paik to modern masters of abstraction like Jackson Pollock and Agnes Martin—and, of course, Jeff Koons.
Alexander Gilkes, co-founder, Paddle8
This is extremely difficult to narrow down, but strictly speaking to their influence: Marcel Duchamp, David Hammons, Yves Klein, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst, Jackson Pollock, Chris Burden, Robert Mapplethorpe, James Turrell, Gerhard Richter, Banksy, and Marina Abramović.
Jordana Pomeroy, director of the Frost Art Museum at FIU
You could fill galleries with books, catalogues, and articles on these artists, each of whom has influenced and shaped the history of art by adopting a different lens from anyone else, by expressing new ideas and pushing ideological, visual, and material boundaries. That said, my list would be: Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Tony Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Marina Abramović, Marcel Duchamp, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Damien Hirst.