Faith Ringgold and Nan Goldin Among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year

Time magazine released its list of the 100 “most influential” people of 2022 on Monday and this year’s edition featured notable artists alongside the usual suspects of politicians and zeitgeisty celebrities.

Artist-activists Nan Goldin and Faith Ringgold were featured on the list along with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, actress Michelle Yeoh, and writer Sally Rooney. Like always, the roundup is divided into categories of artists, innovators, titans, leaders, icons, and pioneers; previous winners were invited to pen short essays honoring the impact of the 2022 recipients.

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In artists, Faith Ringgold was recognized by Thelma Golden, director and curator of the Studio Museum, as a “creative force and artistic visionary.” She continued that “Faith’s path has been courageous, profound, and unflinching in its depiction of contemporary society.”

At 91, Ringgold has recieved renewed institutional acclaim for her incisive art, which spans sculpture, painting, and textiles. Ringgold was the subject of two international retrospectives this past year—at London’s Serpentine Galleries, which traveled to the Glenstone Museum in Maryland, and at New Museum, which marked the first New York survey of the Harlem-born artist in nearly 40 years.

Architects Francis Kéré and Maya Lin are honored elsewhere in the section.

Kéré, the social justice and climate-conscious designer of the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion, became the first Black person in 2022 to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. In his essay, architect David Adjaye called Kéré “a trailblazer for his long-standing commitment to formalizing space for both social and environmental good.”

Lin is praised by writer Celeste Ng as an architect whose work “reveals inconvenient truths long ignored.” She designed the haunting 2021 installation Ghost Forest, in which a grove of forty-nine cedar trees, stripped of leaves and bark, were transplanted from New Jersey’s Pine Barrens to Madison Square Park. Park-goers sunbathed and picnicked between the dead grove, a statement to how easily we adapt to the reality of climate destruction.

Elizabeth Alexander, celebrated poet, and essayist, as well as the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was honored by playwright Lynn Nottage as someone who “has put real investment into creating spaces that reflect the country’s rich diversity, and rethinking how we can embrace our cultural narratives, whether through physical monuments or the ways in which we tell our stories.” Alexander is a philanthropic force: since becoming president of the foundation in 2018, she has channeled some $11.8 million into Puerto Rico’s cultural ecosystem, and $125 million to Creatives Rebuild New York, which provided financial support to cultural professionals during the coronavirus pandemic.

And, in the “Pioneers” section, photographer Nan Goldin was recognized for her campaign to urge museums to divest from philanthropy from the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma, which has been accused of exacerbating the opioid crisis in America. Since 2018, Goldin, a recovered opioid addict, and her activist group P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), have staged dozens of actions at museums—most famously, her “die-ins,” in which activists lay inside the galleries amid fake prescription bottles. Under such pressure, a growing number of art institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the U.K.’s Tate museum, have said they will no longer accept donations from the family.

Patrick Radden Keefe, the journalist who helped expose the Sacklers’ aggressive marketing of the painkiller OxyContin in his book Empire of Pain, wrote in his essay that Goldin “placed a burning spotlight on the family, who recently reached settlements requiring them to pay $6 billion to help remediate the crisis. She pioneered a powerful new form of activism and started an urgent conversation about tainted money in the arts.”

Check out the rest of Time’s list of the 100 “most influential” people of 2022 here»


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