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The 100 most iconic artworks from the last five years

And the top ten are ...

Leading international art website ARTINFO has released a list of the “100 Most Iconic Artworks From the Last 5 Years”. The full list, released on their website this week, is an ambitious attempt to distill the past half-decade into its most memorable artistic moments. They put it thus:

From among the thousands of individual works that pass through galleries and museums, which have affected the conversation in some significant way? Amid all of contemporary art's chaotic installations and ephemeral gestures, which images have some staying power?

The top condenders were chosen by members of the ARTINFO staff, colleagues and several “distinguished outsiders”. The final cut – notably heavy on “art stars”, installations and performance pieces (Damien Hirst, Ai Weiwei, Marina Abromovic, Tino Seghal and Pussy Riot all make it in) – has sparked mixed reactions.  We’ll let you be the judge. In the top ten slots:

1. Christian Marclay, "The Clock", 2010

Produced for the Lincoln Centre in New York, this piece of video art - spanning 24 hours - on a clock was built “collage” style from spliced film clips, each frame displaying an exact time.          


2. Marina Abromovic, "The Artists is Present", 2010  

Renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at the New York MOMA saw her spend three months across from an empty chair, in which thousands of visitors took a seat over the course of the exhibition.


3. Tino Sehgal, "This Progress", 2010            

A participatory work in which volunteers guided visitors through the ascending levels of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, mirroring the passage of time.


4. Ai Weiwei,"Sunflower Seeds", 2010            

The artist flooded the Tate Modern Turbine Hall with a hundred million seemingly identical hand-sculpted sunflower seeds, offering poetic comment on the notion of “made in China” and the nature of individuality.


5. Damien Hirst, "For the Love of God", 2007         


YBA breakout star Damien Hirst stirred controversy in the art world once again when he covered this human skull with diamonds and sold it for $100 million.


6. Mark Wallinger, "State Britain", 2007            

For his solo piece at the Tate Turbine Hall, Wallinger’s “ready-made” was a meticulous recreation of the anti-war encampment that was forcibly removed from outside London’s Houses of Parliament.


7. Voina, "A Dick Captured by the FSB", 2010         


Street art? Establishment protest? The Russian art Voina collective shot to notoriety after tracing this phallus on a drawbridge outside the former KGB in Moscow.


8. Shepard Fairey, "Hope", 2008            

The now-infamous portrait was appropriated by Fairey from an Asssociated Press photograph, and was soon absorbed into the visual iconography of Obama’s 2008 election campaign.


9. Pussy Riot, "Christ the Savior Cathedral performance", 2012            

Feminist punk group/performance artists - and recent cause-célèbre - Pussy Riot’s most famous performance saw them perform on the alter at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow - then landed them in jail.


10. Allora & Calzadilla, "Track and Field", 2011     

The American art duo devises this absurdist installation, in which an athlete used an overturned 60 ton military tank as a treadmill outside the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. “As brawny and bombastic as the nationalistic spectacles it was mocking”.


See the full list here.

Charlotte Simmonds is a writer and blogger living in London. She was formerly an editorial assistant at the New Statesman. You can follow her on Twitter @thesmallgalleon.