Christie's - auction house

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The more senior employees here are some of the most mentally elegant and socially graceful people I've met. But the 'old school' values of connoisseurship and expertise here seem to have given way to a competitive profitlust focused on the bottom line. This may be an adaptive reaction to the fact that sites like Artnet have made the role of the auction specialist obsolete. No longer houses of a collector based art history, auction houses have tried to reposition themselves as the one-stop art centers of the secondary market, with specialists acting as conceirges/ personal shoppers.

Perhaps this is how it's always been in the auction business, only less extreme. Nevertheless, in the past few years, while facing massive profit losses due to a few hasty business deals (3-4 bad "Gauratees" in the Impressionist and Contemporary departments bled the company dry last year) the middle business management has been putting extreme pressure on specialists and their underlings to SELL, regardless of how little belief they may have in the particular artist they are currently praising. It poisons whatever aura of civility and trust Christie's built its name on.

Regarding the corporate atmosphere, there is a comic divide between the army of pretty girls in suits and those lower class employees working in the warehouse, downstairs. It is implicit that these two sides should not become too familiar.

Upstairs, younger employees are overworked and take it, eager to prove themselves. 16 hour days are not uncommon. Sale Administrators here, (unlike those holding identical positions at Sotheby's) are not paid overtime. This is illegal, but of course no one ever complains for fear of losing this prestigious position.

Junior Specialists stagnate for years. They stymied with promises of promotions that never materialize. This is more true for the women employees, while the few pretty men who work here, (talentless though they may be) are rocketed up to higher posts and promotions. It is important to mention that during my time working here I have seen several instance of blatant sexual harassment that went unpunished. One male specialist commented lewdly on another's breast size, not knowing she was in earshot.