Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

A warm welcome to Miety Heiden, Deputy Chair and Head of Private Sales at Phillips

Miety Heiden Deputy Chair & Head of Private Sales at Phillips

TODAY, PHILLIPS IS A PREMIER DESTINATION FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS OF MODERN, POST-WAR, CONTEMPORARY, AMERICAN AND LATIN AMERICAN WORKS OF ART IN ADDITION TO WATCHES, JEWELS, PHOTOGRAPHY, WORKS ON PAPER AND EDITIONS. IN 2020, THE NEW YORK AUCTION HOUSE MOVED TO LARGER HEADQUARTERS AT 432 PARK AVENUE EXPANDING ITS FOOTPRINT IN NEW YORK AND ITS GLOBAL PRESENCE IN THE AUCTION WORLD.  FOUNDED IN LONDON IN 1796, PHILLIPS FIRST GAINED INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FROM ITS SALE OF THE ESTATE OF QUEEN MARIE ANTOINETTE HELD INSIDE BUCKINGHAM PALACE. ITS FOUNDER, HARRY PHILIPS, WAS AN INNOVATIVE BUSINESSMAN, THE FIRST TO HOST EVENING RECEPTIONS BEFORE AUCTIONS, NOW AN ANTICIPATED AND STANDARD PRACTICE. THE AUCTION HOUSE HAS CHANGED HANDS SEVERAL TIMES INCLUDING ITS OWNERSHIP BY LVMH CHAIR, BERNARD ARNAULT, AND DEALERS SIMON DE PURY AND DANIELA LUXEMBOURG.

Phillips Auction

IN 2014, AT A MOMENT OF A SYSTEMIC CHANGE IN THE THREE LEADING INTERNATIONAL AUCTION HOUSES, ED DOLMAN JOINED PHILLIPS AS CEO AND BROUGHT IN AN EXCEPTIONAL TEAM CULLED FROM THE RANKS OF CHRISTIE’S AND SOTHEBY’S. MIETY HEIDEN BECAME AN INVALUABLE PRESENCE AT PHILLIPS, CONTRIBUTING HER ENORMOUS EXPERTISE IN THE PRIVATE SALES SECTOR AT AUCTION, A VERY LUCRATIVE ASPECT OF EACH AUCTION HOUSE. SHE HAD LAUNCHED S/2, THE SELLING GALLERY AT SOTHEBY’S AND WORKED ON THEIR CONTEMPORARY EVENING SALES.

https://www.phillips.com

As reported in Artnet News, March 3, 2016:

In recent years, both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have increasingly focused on private sales, which are generally more lucrative, since they avoid the hefty costs of staging public auctions and publishing auction catalogues.

She contributed to business development and managed client relationships for the New York and Hong Kong contemporary art evening and day sales, as well as focusing on emerging markets and drumming up business on the West Coast. She was also a consultant to the Chinese contemporary art department, and was previously head of the modern and contemporary art department in Amsterdam.

TODAY THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME MIETY HEIDEN, DEPUTY CHAIR AND HEAD OF PRIVATE SALES AT PHILIPS AUCTION HOUSE. MIETY IS BOTH A FRIEND AND A COLLEAGUE, MUCH ADMIRED BY EVERYONE WHO KNOWS HER. HER LOVE OF THE ARTS, DEEP KNOWLEDGE OF THE ART MARKET, SENSE OF HUMOR AND COOL COMPOSURE, MAKE HER AN INVALUABLE PROFESSIONAL ALLY AND FRIEND.

https://www.phillips.com/private-sales

MIETY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE BLOG!

Where did you grow up and what were your educational pursuits?

I grew up in the Netherlands and I always knew that I was interested in the arts. Once I finished school I studied History of Art at the University of Amsterdam.

How did you develop an interest in art? Were your parents collectors and were you exposed to the museum and gallery world as a child?

No, my parents weren’t collectors or anything like that. When I was 17, I had a conversation with a family friend who explained the auction world to me, and that’s when I knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life.

Who were the first artists that struck a chord? How did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in the art world?

The first artists that caught my attention were the Dutch Old Masters – the likes of Rembrandt, whose works I first saw at the Rijksmuseum as a teenager.

The Rijksmuseum
Amsterdam

How did you gain a foothold in the auction world?

I first started my career as an intern at a Dutch auction house in 1992, before joining Sotheby’s Amsterdam five years later. During my time there I also worked a lot in Singapore and Indonesia. I then moved to Sotheby’s New York in 2005.

What pulled you into the private sales sector first at Sotheby’s and now at Phillips? How would you describe the responsibilities of Head of Private Sales versus those of the auction specialist?

Having worked in auctions for 15 years I wanted to explore something new – I had the idea to set up a selling exhibition program at Sotheby’s and came up with the idea to open a gallery within Sotheby’s which we did in 2011. Our first show focused on Sam Francis and was a sell-out. This set the precedent for many more solo artist selling exhibitions for artists such as Basquiat and Keith Haring. In 2019, Phillips’ private sales were up 34% from the previous year – in part because of the time and resources we’ve devoted to it, and our international exhibition program. As we explore new ways to generate business under the pressures of the market, we are focusing more on the private selling aspect of the business.

What was your career path at Sotheby’s? What were your responsibilities when you started and how did they develop over time?

I was at Sotheby’s for 18 years in total. I was head of Modern and Contemporary Art and Indonesian Art at Sotheby’s Amsterdam, and then when I moved to New York I started as head of their Afternoon Sale, before working on the Evening Sale a year later. It was after that I started the S2 program and ran the two side by side, in the same way that I work in both auction and private sales at Phillips today.

IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, MIETY WILL SHARE HER EXPERT PERSPECTIVE ON AUCTION HOUSE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES AND ON THE POSITIONING A WORK CORRECTLY TO GIVE IT ITS OPTIMUM EXPOSURE, AN ART IN AND OF ITSELF.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! KEEP READING!

Taking action with Christie’s Lydia Fenet, author, auctioneer and Global Director of Strategic Partnerships

Lydia Fenet
Christie’s Managing Director, Global Strategic Partnerships

 

No one knows what the future holds, but you can determine what success looks like in your own life and keep moving forward. The path to success comes from taking action.

RECENTLY POSTED BY LYDIA FENET ON INSTAGRAM DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND THE DEPTH OF GLOBAL UNCERTAINTY, LYDIA FENET TURNS HER WORDS INTO ACTION.  DURING THE TEMPORARY CLOSING OF CHRISTIE’S DOORS, SHE HAS CREATED A SERIES OF ENGAGING AND INFORMATIVE DAILY CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER  ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN WHO KEEP MOVING FORWARD. SHE IS DEDICATING HER TIME AND EXPERTISE TO SHARING HER BUSINESS ACUMEN AND SAVVY, ASKING ONLY THAT THOSE WHO CAN, DONATE TO THE RIVER FUND NEW YORK, http://www.river.fund, A LOCAL NON-PROFIT THAT PROVIDES DIRECT EMERGENCY AND CRISIS SERVICES, THE LARGEST FREE-FOOD OUTLET IN THE CITY.

https://www.instagram.com/lydiafenet/

HER MOST RECENT GUESTS INCLUDE ILANA RAIA, A FORMER SKADDEN ARPS ATTORNEY AND FOUNDER OF ETRE, A RESOURCE AND MENTORSHIP PLATFORM FOR YOUNG WOMEN; AMORY McANDREW, A LITIGATOR AND EXPERT ON EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIPS, ON THE STEPS TO TAKE IF WE ARE LAID OFF DUE TO THE PANDEMIC; AND ALLY LOVE, BROOKLYN NETS IN-ARENA HOST, PELOTON INSTRUCTOR, ADIDAS GLOBAL AMBASSADOR, AND CEO OF LOVE SQUAD, AN ONLINE PLATFORM  FOR WOMEN TO CONNECT; AS DIVERSE AND INNOVATIVE A ROSTER OF TODAY’S WOMEN AS ONE COULD HOPE TO FIND.

Lydia Fenet
Author
The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You

THEIR ONE UNIFYING FORCE IS LYDIA FENET, GLOBAL MANAGING DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP AND LEAD BENEFIT AUCTIONEER AT CHRISTIE’S AUCTION HOUSE. AUTHOR OF “THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN IN THE ROOM IS…YOU”, SHE IS A MAGNET FOR OTHER SUCCESSFUL AND DYNAMIC WOMEN WHO ARE CHANGING OUR PERCEPTION OF THE WORKPLACE, THE NEGOTIATING TABLE, AND THE HOME- EVERYWHERE.

LYDIA, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE LRFA BLOG!

WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN IN THEIR NEGOTIATING MINDSET AND SKILLS?

In my experience, men tend to walk into negotiations with the expectation that if they go into a negotiation with a big number, they will ultimately walk out where they want to be. Once they throw out that number they don’t try to justify what they are asking for – the number is the number and it is up to the person across the table to agree or disagree. Women tend to come in asking for the number that they want to get and then spend thirty minutes explaining why they should receive that amount. It always seems to me that men feel like they deserve more whereas women feel like they are asking for a favor.

HOW DO YOU COUNSEL A WOMAN TO NEGOTIATE AS POWERFULLY AS A MAN BUT STAY WITHIN THE ARENA OF THEIR PERSONALITY AND NATURE? 

The most important thing to do is lose the emotion. I have never been in a negotiation with a man where the end result was tears. I have definitely seen that a number of times with women – and I have also been the woman who burst into tears. You need to remember that business is business – and personal is personal. 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIAL EVENTS YOU HAVE PLANNED IN THE COMING YEAR BOTH IN TERMS OF PROMOTING THE BOOK AND IN FURTHERING THE STRATEGIC GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM?

I have been holding events around the book nonstop since it launched last April. As long as there is an appetite for it, I am thrilled to promote it. In Strategic Partnerships we are focusing on bringing in fewer partners so that we can concentrate on integrated marketing programs that deepen the relationship between the partners and Christie’s.

YOU ARE HARDLY ONE TO STAY IN THE STATUS QUO. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? WHAT ARE SOME DREAMS YOU HAVE PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?

The list is long and changes almost weekly at this point!

On the personal front, now that my kids are getting a little older, I look forward to traveling with them around the world. Travel was such an important part of my childhood that I want to expose them to the world in a similar way.

On the work front: I would love to stay at Christie’s and continue to grow my department, and serve as an ambassador for the firm as an auctioneer. I continue writing all of the time – if you ever see me on a plane I am usually writing something just to write. (Simon & Shuster published Lydia’s 2019 “The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You”).   Additionally, my book has been optioned by New Form Entertainment so hopefully I will have exciting news about a TV/film deal in the coming year. I am also in talks with a number of companies about developing an unscripted TV series. Finally, I am co-founding a hospitality platform for female travelers with my sister called She Gone.

I am happiest when I am busy – so, I am definitely happy these days!

The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is YOU
by Lydia Fenet

 

https://www.amazon.com/Most-Powerful-Woman-Room-You-ebook/dp/B07GNTSTZ8

Excerpts of reviews of The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is …You

Fenet highlights the importance of operating in the business world from a position of strength and confidence . . . through knowledge.

Her career in a male dominated business as an auctioneer for Christie’s to her outlook on helping woman help other woman reached me on a deep level.

I cannot speak enough to the power of the written word and especially when it’s written by an author/woman who wants to positively impact our working and personal lives today.

IN OUR BUSINESS, A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, ERGO A VIDEO IS PRICELESS. LAST WEEK, LYDIA JOINED BRIAN McCOMAK, CEO & FOUNDER OF HUMMINGBIRD HUMANITY, IN A SERIES BRIAN CREATED DURING THE PANDEMIC CRISIS, “HOPE, HEART AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT”.

 

BRIAN IS A PASSIONATE EXPERT ON INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE AND MET LYDIA AT CHRISTIE’S WHERE HE SERVED AS HEAD OF HUMAN RESOURCES FOR ALMOST FIVE YEARS. THEY ARE FRIENDS AS WELL AS COLLEAGUES AND LYDIA’S FORTHRIGHT HONESTY AND HUMANITY RESONATE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-dcola-015&hsimp=yhs-015&hspart=dcola&p=lydia+fenet#id=23&vid=4d36e63dcf813a0951abbe7d5019e519&action=view

IT HAS BEEN A GREAT PRIVILEGE AND DELIGHT FOR THE LRFA BLOG INTERVIEW LYDIA FENET, WHOSE INSIGHT, INTELLIGENCE AND GRIT SET A HIGH STANDARD FOR ALL OF US IN TODAY’S WORLD.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, I AM VERY PLEASED TO INTRODUCE MIETY HEIDEN. MIETY IS  DEPUTY CHAIR AT PHILLIPS AND HEADS PRIVATE SALES AND PHILLIPS NEW DIGITAL PLATFORM, PHILLIPS X, EFFECTIVELY EXPANDING THE FOOTPRINT OF PHILLIPS BEYOND LIVE AUCTIONS.

PLEASE JOIN US!

Lydia Fenet, a passionate philanthropist, and charity auctioneer, Managing Director, Christie’s

Lydia Fenet
Global Head of Strategic Partnerships, Christie’s

MANY CHARITIES RELY ON SIGNATURE ANNUAL EVENTS TO FINANCIALLY SUPPORT THEIR MISSION-DRIVEN WORK. OFTEN, THE ANNUAL GALA FEATURES A BOTH LIVE AND SILENT AUCTIONS THAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FUND-RAISING EVENT OF THE YEAR. THE CHARITY SOLICITS DONATIONS FROM INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES. NOW IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES, THE GENEROSITY AND SUPPORT OF DONORS MATTERS ALL THE MORE.

LYDIA FENET IS BEST KNOWN IN HER ROLE AT CHRISTIE’S, GLOBAL HEAD OF STRATEGIC PLANNING, A CONCEPT SHE INVENTED AND ESTABLISHED FOR THE AUCTION HOUSE AFTER THE CRASH OF 2008.  EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO HER AND TO ALL THOSE SHE HELPS IS HER VERY PROMINENT AND DEMANDING SECOND CAREER AS ONE OF THE WORLD-WIDE LEADING CHARITY AUCTIONEERS. EVEN WITH THE JOYS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A FAMILY OF THREE YOUNG CHILDREN, LYDIA MAINTAINS AN EXHAUSTING SCHEDULE OF EVENING CHARITY AUCTIONS AFTER FULL WORKING DAYS AT CHRISTIE’S.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/13/arts/lydia-wickliffe-fenet-christies-auction.html

Are you looking to exceed your fundraising goals? Elevate your auction to the next level? Leave your guests entertained, inspired, and with considerably less money following your auction? Look no further than the woman who has raised over half a billion dollars for non-profits globally: Lydia Fenet. Using her charisma, humor, and uncanny ability to connect meaningfully with audiences of 100 and 3,000 (and everything in between), Ms. Fenet commands every stage effortlessly without leaving a dollar in the room.

Since leading her first auction in 2001, Lydia has taken over a thousand auctions, and is recognized as the top performer in her field.

Over the past fifteen years, Lydia has taken between 70 – 100 auctions a year. Her recent auctions have benefitted Tipping Point, AMFAR, the Bob Woodruff Foundation, New Yorkers for Children and the Naples Winter Wine Festival.

https://lydiafenet.com/

THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO HAVE LYDIA BACK TO SHARE HER INSIDER’S VIEW ON THE CHARITY AUCTION WORLD.

LYDIA, WHO WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN YOUR TWENTIES? HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS IN WHICH YOUR SENSE OF SELF AND VALUE HAVE DEVELOPED IN YOUR THIRTIES?

In my twenties, I was very focused on pleasing everyone around me. An unkind word or a comment could upset for days. In my thirties, I realized that ultimately it has nothing to do with what people around me think. If I am living in my truth, acting with respect and kindness to those around me, I can be proud of who I am. 

YOU ARE THE LEADING CHARITY AUCTIONEER SPENDING 70 TO 80 NIGHTS A YEAR ON STAGE. HOW DID THAT ROLE EVOLVE?

When I first started taking auctions I would take any auction that I was asked to take. Because I spent so much time onstage, I was able to develop a style that felt very authentic and comfortable. As my auctioneering career evolved, I starting taking less auctions so that I could focus my energy on raising money for causes that I care deeply about in addition to the ones I do for Christie’s.

https://www.christies.com/features/What-I-have-learned-Lydia-Fenet-9768-1.aspx

HOW DO CHARITY AUCTIONS DIFFER FROM AUCTIONS AT CHRISTIE’S? AT AUCTION, THE FOCUS IS ON THE OBJECT, BE IT A RARE BOTTLE OF WINE OR  A PICASSO. CAN YOU GENERALIZE AS TO THE LOTS THAT REALIZE THE MOST AT A CHARITY AUCTION?

Without a doubt, charity auctions should focus on experiences, not art or items with an actual value. When something is considered “priceless” there really is no limit to what people will give. 

DO THE NON-PROFITS APPROACH YOU OR DO YOU WORK THROUGH CHRISTIE’S TO DECIDE WHICH AUCTIONS TO LEAD. HOW DID YOU ENTER INTO THE AUCTION WORLD AND HOW HAS YOUR APPROACH TO A SUCCESSFUL AUCTION DIFFERED FROM WHEN YOU STARTED AND HOW HAS IT REMAINED THE SAME?

It works both ways. If an auction goes well, I usually receive 2 or 3 requests from people in the audience asking if I will take their auction. In addition, I also receive a number of requests through Christie’s which are always interesting. I took a charity auction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in June which was absolutely amazing. Christie’s is such a storied brand that the experiences I have had as an auctioneer for the firm have been truly amazing.

YOU TEACH A PROGRAM IN AUCTIONEERING AT CHRISTIE’S. DO YOU FIND THAT THE PROPORTION OF WOMEN TO MEN HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?

Definitely. I have had a number of women over the years tell me that they tried out because they saw me onstage and felt like a woman could do it too.

 

DO WOMEN HAVE A DIFFERENT AUCTION STYLE OR DO YOU COACH EACH PERSON IN THE COURSE TO IDENTIFY AND REFLECT THEIR OWN PERSONALITY?

Without a doubt it is according to their personality. Everyone has something unique to bring to the table – in the class I try to figure out what that is and help them bring it into their performance.

YOUR RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK, THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN IN THE ROOM IS YOU, COMES AT A TIME WHEN INCLUSION, EQUAL PAY AND FAIR TREATMENT ARE AT THE FOREFRONT OF OUR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONCERNS. WHAT WAS YOUR PURPOSE IN WRITING THE BOOK?

I wanted women to understand that all the power they need is already inside of them – they just need to start believing in themselves.

WHAT IS THE AUDIENCE YOU ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN REACHING AND HOW HAVE YOU GONE ABOUT IT?

When I wrote the book, I hoped to reach women who were just starting out in the working world. I focused on doing podcasts and interviews in publications that focused on that targeted group. Interestingly, what I have since realized since the publication date in April, is the book actually has a much larger reach. I can’t tell you how many emails and letters I have received from 60 – 70 year old women thanking me for writing the book, and telling me that they wished they had had the book when they were in their 20s.

EVEN IN THIS TIME OF STAYING HOME, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND QUARANTINE, LYDIA HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE PRO-ACTIVE IN FORMING AN AMAZING DAILY INSTAGRAM IG LIVE.  SHE INVITES A ROSTER OF ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN TO SPEAK ABOUT THEIR LIVES, THEIR CAREERS AND THEIR VISION OF THE FUTURE. TRY TO TUNE IN, AT 6 PM EASTERN, AND OF COURSE, BEING THE INCOMPARABLE PHILANTHROPIST THAT SHE IS, SHE INVITES US ALL TO DONATE TO HER FAVORITE CAUSE, https://www.river.fund, OR TO A CHARITY OF YOUR CHOICE.

PLEASE JOIN US IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG POST WHERE LYDIA FENET OFFERS EXTRAORDINARY GUIDANCE IN THE ART OF NEGOTIATION.

AND, MOST OF ALL, STAY WELL AND STAY SAFE!

 

Lydia Fenet, Managing Director at Christie’s, founder and global head of Christie’s Strategic Partnerships

Lydia Fenet
Manager Director, Christie’s
Global Head, Strategic Partnerships

WE ARE FACING A PERIOD OF RADICAL TRANSFORMATION IN THE WAYS IN WHICH WE CONDUCT BUSINESS DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.  IN THE ART WORLD, GALLERIES, ART FAIRS AND AUCTION HOUSES ARE CREATING AND FURTHER DEVELOPING SOPHISTICATED VIRTUAL EXHIBITIONS, SALES AND VIEWING ROOMS IN AN EFFORT TO CONTINUE TO MARKET AND SELL ARTWORK.  IN 2008, WHEN FACED WITH A GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS, LYDIA FENET, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT CHRISTIE’S BROUGHT THE CONCEPT OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS TO THE AUCTION WORLD IN A THEN TRULY RADICAL AND INNOVATIVE WAY TO CONTINUE CORPORATE SUPPORT OF AUCTIONS.

A strategic partnership is a an agreed-upon collaboration between businesses with common missions. Although partnerships can take on a number of objectives and levels of formality depending upon the nature of the agreement, the overall goal of strategic partnerships is to share resources in a way that promotes growth for all partners. This type of marketing has long been in place in much of the corporate world in which businesses with mutual interests agree to collaborate to share their specific areas of concentration to the advancement of all of the partners.

WITH A TEAM IN NEW YORK, LONDON, AND HONG KONG, CHRISTIE’S STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS WORKS WITH SELECT BRANDS TO CREATE CUSTOMIZED REGIONAL AND GLOBAL PROGRAMS FEATURING ELEGANT EVENTS, BESPOKE CONTENT AND EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL EXPERIENCES. EACH PROGRAM IS UNIQUE AND PROVIDES THE PARTNER WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO ENGAGE THEIR AUDIENCE AND ELEVATE THEIR BRAND BY ALIGNING WITH CHRISTIE’S, THE WORLD’S LEADING ART BUSINESS AND THE ULTIMATE ICONIC LUXURY BRAND.

https://www.christies.com/about-us/strategic-partnerships

Christie’s Strategic Partnerships & Bugatti

THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME LYDIA FENET BACK TO TELL US HOW IT ALL CAME ABOUT.

LYDIA, YOU VIRTUALLY TRANSFORMED THE BUSINESS MODEL AT CHRISTIE’S BY BRINGING IN OUTSIDE REVENUE TO SUPPORT THE SPECIAL EVENTS DEPARTMENT.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE INNOVATIVE PLAN TO INTRODUCE PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN OTHER LUXURY BRANDS AND CHRISTIE’S?  PLEASE TELL US ABOUT ITS INCEPTION AND DEVELOPMENT.

I started the Strategic Partnerships division at Christie’s after the crash in 2008. I was working in the Events and realized that, once again, I was going to lose members of my team because we were supposed to be spending money at a time when the company was really cutting back. I wrote a business plan for Strategic Partnerships proposing a new department that offset the costs of events by getting other companies to pay for our events. Now sponsorships are everywhere, but ten years ago companies were just starting to explore partnerships as a way to cross-promote to new audiences. Strategic Partnerships at Christie’s looks very different than it did ten years ago – we evolve and innovate to keep up with the constantly evolving digital landscape.

Christie’s Strategic Partnerships & Athena

 

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CLIENTS THAT CHRISTIE’S PARTNERS WITH IN THE STRATEGIC GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS DIVISION?

We partner with every luxury brand imaginable – Mandarin Oriental, VistaJet, Gucci, Bugatti.

 

Christie’s Strategic Partnerships &
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHT EVENTS AND PARTNERSHIP CAMPAIGNS THAT WERE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FOR THE BRANDS AND WHY? 

To this day, my favorite partnerships were the ones we did around The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor. We partnered with everyone from Gazprom in Russia to Wells Fargo in Los Angeles. Each partnership brought exposure to a new group of clients and new ways to broaden the reach of the sale. A couple of years ago, we had a fantastic collaboration with VistaJet during The Collection of Peggy & David Rockefeller. They have a fabulous marketing team that worked with our team to create a customized series of offerings giving clients the opportunity fly privately in order to visit the exhibition around the world, and attend the sale in New York.

 

Christie’s Strategic Partnerships
& VistaJet

https://www.christies.com/auctions/rockefeller/vistajet

DO YOU APPROACH THEM OR THEY YOU OR BOTH?

Both. There are many times when we have an exciting sale that we think would benefit from cross-promotion with a brand. In that instance we create a target list and reach out. We also field a ton of requests from different companies looking to partner with the Christie’s brand.

Collector’s Night
Partnership Event with Christie’s
and Harris Fraser

WHAT MAKES A GOOD FIT FOR A BRAND TO PARTNER WITH CHRISTIE’S?

We are always looking for brands that have a strong corporate identity but also looking to try new, innovative campaigns that will attract new clients and resonate with existing clients. My favorite brand collaboration is with a brand that might seem unexpected, but with great storytelling and good marketing helps make people want to come in and see a collection or click through on Instagram to learn more about the collaboration.

YOU HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED BY OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, JENNIFER BROWN, EXPERT AND LEADING VOICE ON THE SUBJECT OF INCLUSIVITY IN THE WORKPLACE, AS A RAINMAKER. WHAT GAVE YOU THE COURAGE, IN AN ESSENTIALLY MALE DOMINATED INDUSTRY, TO BREAK THE GLASS CEILING?

One of my greatest blessings in life is the unconditional love I have received from my parents. I think the lessons that they taught me as a child about going after what I want in life have enabled me to push fear aside in pursuit of my goals. That combined with a strong inner drive makes me pretty fearless about trying new things.

DON’T MISS LYDIA’S DAILY INSTAGRAM IG LIVE INTERVIEWS THAT SHE HAS  INNOVATED DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, 6PM EASTERN NIGHTLY.

NOT ONE TO PASSIVELY SIT STILL, THE AUTHOR OF THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN IN THE ROOM IS YOU, LYDIA FENET HAS CREATED A VERY POPULAR SERIES OF IG LIVE CHATS WITH OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE MOVERS AND SHAKERS WITH VERY DIVERSE BUSINESSES. DO LISTEN AND, IF YOU CAN, PLEASE SUPPORT LYDIA’S FAVORITE CHARITY, www/river.fund WITH A DONATION.  THANK YOU!

https://www.amazon.com/Most-Powerful-Woman-Room-You/dp/198210113X

HERE ARE JUST A FEW:

DANA PERINO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR

JULIA TAYLOR, FOUNDER OF EVERLYWELL, AT-HOME LAB TESTS

SAMANTHA BARRY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, GLAMOUR MAGAZINE

CAROLINE FAIRCHILD, EDITOR AT LARGE, LINKED IN

LAUREN SMITH BRODY, FOUNDER, THE FIFTH TRIMESTER

With the most powerful woman in the room, Lydia Fenet, Managing Director at Christie’s

Lydia Fenet
Managing Director, Christie’s
Strategic Global Partnerships

LYDIA FENET IS A RAINMAKER. A COMMITTED PHILANTHROPIST, DEVOTED WIFE AND MOTHER, AS MANAGING DIRECTOR AT CHRISTIE’S AUCTION HOUSE, SHE CREATED AND HEADS THE STRATEGIC GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS. SHE IS A FANATICALLY SOUGHT AFTER CHARITY AUCTIONEER AND HAS RAISED OVER HALF A BILLION DOLLARS FOR NON-PROFITS GLOBALLY. SHE RECENTLY ADDED TO HER MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS WITH THE PUBLICATION OF A BOOK, THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN IN THE ROOM…IS YOU, A BRILLIANT AND EMINENTLY READABLE GUIDE FOR WOMEN TO EMPOWER THEMSELVES AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE AND IN LIFE.

The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is YOU
by Lydia Fenet

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Most-Powerful-Woman-in-the-Room-Is-You/Lydia-Fenet/9781982101138

THE LRFA BLOG HAD PLANNED TO POST LYDIA’S INTERVIEW DURING THE NEW YORK AUCTION MONTH IN MAY AND LOOKED FORWARD, WITH GREAT ANTICIPATION, TO THE SERIES. THEN WE WERE ALL QUARANTINED, LOCKED DOWN BY THE FRIGHTENING AND UNEXPECTED PANDEMIC: COVID-19. LYDIA FACED THIS WITH THE SAME FORTITUDE AND DETERMINATION THAT CHARACTERIZES HER ENTIRE LIFE.  SHE STARTED A MARVELOUS INSTAGRAM IG LIVE SERIES TO BENEFIT A BELOVED CHARITY, THE RIVER FUND, INTERVIEWING OTHER ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN ABOUT THEIR BUSINESSES, HOW THEY ARE COPING WITH THE LOCKDOWN AND THEIR PLANS IN A POST-COVID WORLD.

MORE ON THAT TO FOLLOW, BUT HERE IS LYDIA’S APRIL 3 IG POST.

I can’t know the future. I can’t know if anything I do will change what happens tomorrow. What I do know is that if I do nothing, nothing will change. So I choose to try.

IT IS TRULY AN HONOR TO HAVE LYDIA FENET’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE LRFA BLOG.

LYDIA, WELCOME.

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP AND HOW DID YOU DEVELOP AN INTEREST IN ART?

I grew up in Louisiana, but we spent a lot of time in England/Europe because my mother is British. My parents took us to museums in all of the major cities whenever we were traveling, but I never remember being particularly interested in spending time looking at art. That all changed when I did a semester abroad at Oxford as part of a European Studies program through my college.

Oxford University

HOW DID YOU BECOME EXPOSED TO THE INTERNATIONAL ART SCENE AS A YOUNG WOMAN AND WHAT INFLUENCE DID THAT HAVE ON YOU?

I knew very little about about the international art scene before I read an article in a magazine about the auction world while it was in college. It all seemed incredibly glamorous and exciting, and decided that I needed to work in New York at an auction house. I spent months telling anyone who would listen that my life goal was to work at an auction house, and at a Christmas party later that year, I met a young woman who had just started working at Christie’s. She gave me the contact information for the internship coordinator, and I basically stalked her until she let me into the internship program. 

Christie’s New York

WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO NEW YORK AND WHY?

I moved to New York right after I graduated to work in an internship at Christie’s.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO FOCUS ON ART AS A CAREER CHOICE? SO MANY OF US BEGAN AS TENTATIVE WANNABE ARTISTS AND MANAGED TO TRANSFORM A LOVE OF ART INTO A PRESENCE IN THE ART BUSINESS. WAS THAT TRUE IN YOUR CASE?

Not at all. I have zero artistic ability when it comes to visual art– it was the business side of the art world combined with working around the art that made the job so appealing.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

I never had a “first” job – my entire career has been at Christie’s. I did two internships, worked briefly in Client Advisory and then was hired in Special Events where I spent my first ten years with the firm. 

WHAT WERE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AT CHRISTIE’S AS A PART OF THEIR SPECIAL EVENTS DEPARTMENT? WERE THEY FOCUSED ON EVENTS IN NEW YORK, OR GLOBALLY, AND IF SO,WHERE?

When I worked in Special Events, I conceptualized, planned and executed over 500 events a year for Christie’s North and South America. When I first started in the role the events were mainly in New York and Los Angeles, but as the art market became more global I started traveling a ton. I went to Brazil five or six times in eighteen months to execute events when the Brazilian market began to take off. I absolutely loved it. 

YOU HAVE BEEN WITH CHRISTIE’S IN DIFFERENT ROLES SINCE THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CAREER. WHAT IS IT ABOUT CHRISTIE’S THAT HAS CAPTURED YOUR ADMIRATION AND LOYALTY? 

It is such an amazing company, and there is no doubt that working around world class art is a huge part of why it is such an incredible place to work. But truthfully, I think the people who I work with are a large part of the reason that I have been here so long. I really enjoy working with the global Christie’s team. Whereas most companies are working to promote or sell the newest, hottest item, at Christie’s we are entrusted with items that have belonged to families for, in some cases, generations, and there is a story that has to be told, and a legacy to be explained in every piece. The people who work for the firm are intellectually curious, and very intelligent. Even after people leave the auction world, they are always part of the auction family.

IN SO MANY WAYS, LYDIA TRANSFORMED WAYS IN WHICH CHRISTIE’S PARTNERED WITH CORPORATIONS, HARD HIT BY 2008. IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, SHE WILL SHARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF HER CAREER AND HER COMMITMENT TO A TRULY GREAT AND HONORABLE AUCTION HOUSE.

THANK YOU ALL FOR FOLLOWING THE BLOG!

The art of recruiting for the art world, now and in the future, with founder of Murk & Co, Sarah Murkett

Start With Why
by Simon Sinek

SIMON SINEK IS THE AUTHOR OF MANY BEST SELLING BOOKS ON HOW THE GREATEST LEADERS AND ORGANIZATIONS THINK, ACT AND COMMUNICATE. IN START WITH WHY, HE GIVES EXAMPLES OF MANY OF THE LEADERS WHO INSPIRE US ALL IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY: BY DEFINING AND ARTICULATING THE WHY OF WHAT THEY AND THEIR COMPANIES SET OUT TO ACCOMPLISH.

He writes:

WHY-types are the visionaries, the ones with the overactive imaginations. They tend to be optimists who believe that all the things they imagine can actually be accomplished. HOW-types are focused on things most people can see and tend to be better at building structures and processes and getting things done. Visionaries need HOW-types to realize their visions.  

Start With Why  p.38

https://www.amazon.com/Start-Why-Leaders-Inspire-Everyone/dp/1591846447

Sarah Murkett
Murk & Co.

SARAH MURKETT, FOUNDER AND OWNER OF MURK & CO., SPECIALIZES IN RECRUITING THE BEST HOW-TYPES FOR ALL THE MANY FACETED JOBS IN THE ART WORLD. HER SERVICES ARE INVALUABLE TO THE VISIONARIES THAT START A BUSINESS FOR WITHOUT THE EXECUTION, THEY WOULD ONLY HAVE IDEAS.

THE LRFA BLOG IS VERY PLEASED TO HAVE SARAH BACK TO SHARE HER VISION OF THE FUTURE OF THE RECRUITING WORLD IN GENERAL AND MURK & CO. IN PARTICULAR. SARAH, WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF SERVICES MURK & CO. PROVIDES IN TERMS OF ART-CENTRIC BUSINESSES? DO YOU FOCUS ON THE COMPANY’S POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH OR PROFIT OR MORE?

I am currently helping an advisor to grow her business and have been brought into the process at an intimate level.  An employee left and I conducted an exit interview with that person to get a better picture of her role and the activities of the business.  We restructured the role so that it would better suit the principal, in terms of the key support that she needs, as well as what would be potentially attractive to the talent pool being considered for the position.

 

IF YOU COULD IMPROVE THE NATURE OF THE RECRUITING BUSINESS IN ANY WAY, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?

Two things:

As I mentioned before, I try to meet all of my candidates in person and so I spend a lot of time in meetings and traveling to meetings.  But when this is not possible, I prefer a phone call and try to avoid video interviewing on platforms like Skype or Facetime.  I find the platform to be inherently awkward and so it gets in the way of me establishing a rapport with the candidates I am trying to connect with.  The most distancing feature of any video platform is where to look so that your eyes are in the right place.  You need to look into the camera in order for your call partner to feel like you are looking at them.  If you look at the screen where your call partner’s face appears, then it doesn’t feel like you are looking at them, creating a kind of parallax effect.  I personally just anxiously keep moving my eyes back and forth between the two.  Also, the surrounding environment, lighting, camera angle and what you are wearing all contribute to how you are perceived in a video call.  It feels like you need a background in video production in order to do this well, and if not done well, then it puts candidates at a disadvantage for something that has nothing to do with the skills required for the job they are interviewing for. And so, I avoid it whenever I can.  But if there was a way to improve this technology so that I could intimately connect with candidates around the world without have to leave the comfort of my office, then I would totally use it.

The other area of recruiting that I would like to see improved is specific to the art world.  A company’s employees are the human capital that allow it to operate and grow and I would love for my clients, and all art world businesses, to be offering more robust benefit packages to make sure their team is taken care of.  A comprehensive benefit package, at the very minimum, would include:

Full Health Insurance

Paid Time off including vacation, sick days, personal days, national holidays

401K or other retirement plan

If you are a small business trying to attract and keep top talent, then organizing yourself so that you are able to offer these basic benefits is an easy way to stand-out in the marketplace.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS FOR MURK & CO? DO YOU HOPE TO EXPAND IN TERMS of SIZE AND/OR NUMBER OF LOCATIONS?

This year I plan on bringing on some support staff.  I am just beginning a search for a part-time data entry specialist, and hopefully later this year will also be able to add a researcher and assistant.  But there is definitely more to come, including expanded services for clients and candidates, so please stay tuned.

WE WILL. SARAH, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR INSIGHTFUL AND COMPREHENSIVE PERSPECTIVE ON THE JOB MARKET IN THE ART WORLD AND HOW RECRUITING SERVES BOTH CLIENT AND CANDIDATE.

THE LRFA BLOG IS HONORED THAT OUR NEXT INTERVIEW IS WITH THE INCOMPARABLE LYDIA FENET, GLOBAL HEAD OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS AT CHRISTIE’S AND AN INTERNATIONALLY SOUGHT AFTER CHARITY AUCTIONEER. LYDIA IS THE AUTHOR OF THE BEST-SELLING “THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN IN THE ROOM IS YOU” IN WHICH YOU WILL LEARN TO DEVELOP BOTH A SENSE OF SELF-WORTH AND THE ART OF NEGOTIATION.

DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, SHE HAS GENEROUSLY LAUNCHED AN AMAZING IG LIVE, AN EXAMPLE TO ALL OF US TO BE PROACTIVE EVEN DURING THESE ENFORCED TIMES OF SELF-ISOLATION AND SOCIAL DISTANCING. THE SERIES BENEFITS THE CHARITY, THE RIVER FUND, AND LYDIA HOSTS DAILY INTERVIEWS WITH THE MOST INTERESTING AND ACCOMPLISHED WOMEN OF TODAY.

CHECK OUT THE IG LIVE AND THE NEXT LRFA BLOG POSTS!

Safeguard your art in the UK and HK. Expert advice from Withers: The Art Market Adjusts

 

The art market transcends borders and art market participants must be cognizant of the varying laws that may govern their ownership and security interests in their works of art. 

The Art Market Adjusts: Protecting your assets from international creditors – UK and Hong Kong

Kenley: In the United States, if a buyer of a work of art consigns the work to a gallery, the consignor must put third parties on notice of its ownership interest to protect its interest from creditors of the gallery.  Xanthe and Soo Khim, how does the law differ in England and Wales and Hong Kong? For example, imagine that a buyer has consigned a work of art to a gallery for sale.  If the gallery becomes insolvent while holding the consignor’s work, what recourse does the consignor have to get its work back?

Xanthe: The general rule under the common law in England and Wales is that the owner of a work of art (ie holds title to that work) held by a gallery generally has priority over the gallery’s creditors. One exception would be if there were any sums due in connection with the work.  For example, a creditor of the gallery that might want to make a claim on the owner’s work of art would be a service provider who was engaged by the gallery to do some restoration or cleaning services on that work. If the gallery fails to pay the service provider, the provider could make a claim against the work of art for recovery of the unpaid service fees.

Soo Khim: The position in Hong Kong is akin to that in England and Wales, as we also follow the common law. Hence, the owner of a work of art will usually have priority over the gallery’s creditors. For a consignor, the position will be slightly more complicated if the work of art has been sold but the gallery has not yet transferred the net sale proceeds from the buyer to the consignor.  In this case, it will depend on when title will pass to the buyer pursuant to the terms of the consignment agreement. If title to the work of art passes only when the consignor receives the sale proceeds, even though the buyer may have paid the gallery in full, the consignor may have priority over other creditors of the gallery. The consignor should put the gallery or its storage facility on notice to stop delivery of the work to the buyer, pending clearance of payment by the gallery with the consignor (as the final step to effect transfer of title to the buyer). If, however, title has already passed to the buyer who has made full payment, the consignor will simply stand as a creditor of the gallery but will not have recourse to the work of art in question.

Xanthe: Soo Khim’s observations about the position in Hong Kong where the work of art has been sold will also apply in England and Wales.

Kenley: If the gallery is storing the work at a fine art storage facility under the gallery’s account, what additional steps should a consignor take to protect its interests?

Soo Khim: As with warehouse management of other forms of commodities, the gallery should enter into a custody agreement with the storage facility. Under this agreement, the storage facility should agree not to release or remove the work of art unless the consignor authorizes the gallery to request a release or relocation of the work. The agreement should also provide that the storage facility acknowledges and recognizes that the work of art stored is owned by a third party owner and not the gallery. This should prevent the storage facility from exercising a lien or set-off over the work of art for debts due by the gallery to the storage facility, such as unpaid storage fees. Lastly, the storage facility should have a system in place to segregate works of art stored by a gallery that are owned by different title holders.

Kenley: If a gallery in Hong Kong becomes insolvent while holding the consignor’s work of art, what recourse does the consignor have to get its work back? 

 Soo Khim: If the gallery has sold the consignor’s work of art but not yet paid the consignor, the consignor will be a creditor of the gallery and may file a claim of debt for the net sale proceeds due to the consignor in connection with the sale of the work. If the consignment agreement provides that the consignor retains title to the work until the consignor receives full payment, or if the gallery was required to and did place the sale proceeds in a segregated account, the consignor may be able to trace the sales proceeds or argue that it ought to be treated as a secured creditor and therefore has priority over other creditors. Otherwise, the consignor will simply stand as an unsecured creditor.

 SaKenley:  It is so important to be cognizant of how the timing of title transfer can affect one’s interests.  Now let’s imagine that a buyer purchases a work of art from a gallery located in London or Hong Kong, and the gallery is unable to ship the work to the buyer for an unknown period of time.  Against whom should the buyer protect its interests in the work?

Xanthe:  First, the buyer should protect its interests in the wor of art vis-à-vis the gallery.  The buyer and the gallery should enter into a custody agreement, which will formally document the arrangements and basis on which the work is being held by the gallery. The buyer should also request from the gallery a certificate of insurance for the work that names the buyer as an additional insured and loss payee.

Second, the buyer should protect its interests in the work of art vis-à-vis any potential creditors of the gallery. As previously mentioned, a service provider or, if the gallery becomes insolvent, a bankruptcy trustee or liquidator, could make a claim against the buyer’s work of art if there are any unpaid sums due to the gallery in connection with the work.  Such unpaid sums might include, for example, any outstanding payments by the buyer for purchasing the work, cleaning or restoration service fees, or security fees.

Kenley: What if the buyer is paying for the work of art in instalments? How would this affect the owner’s security interest in the work over creditors of the gallery? 

Xanthe:  If a buyer is paying for a work of art in installments and title will not pass to the buyer until payment has been made in full, the creditors of the gallery will have recourse to the work of art to the extent that any of the installments remain outstanding. The buyer should request written confirmation from the gallery of each instalment made and received. When all installments have been made, the gallery should provide the buyer with a written acknowledgement that the work is legally owned by the buyer and the work should have some form of notice affixed to it or placed in close proximity to alert others that the work belongs to the buyer.

In practice, this rule means that if the buyer has paid, for example, one out of five installments for the work, the creditors might have recourse to the remaining four instalments.  Note, however, that if a creditor of the gallery were to take possession of the buyer’s work and sell it, it would be a breach of contract and the creditor would need to reimburse the buyer for the installment portion the buyer has already paid.  If the creditor does not repay the buyer, then the buyer becomes a creditor of the gallery with respect to the installment payment it has made for the work, since the buyer has not received anything in return.  In such a case, if the gallery became insolvent, the buyer would be able to make a claim against the bankruptcy trustee or liquidator for the amount of the instalment portion already paid.

 

Soo Khim: Ideally, the sale and purchase agreement between the gallery and the buyer should stipulate clearly that title to the work of art has passed to the buyer notwithstanding that the payment would be made in installments. All owners of works of art, including artists, consignors and purchasers, should do the following to protect their security interests: obtain documents evidencing title ownership; affix to the work of art a written notice of ownership; include in any custody or consignment agreement a proper retention of title clause when parting with possession; require the gallery to segregate sales proceeds for a work of art; and obtain from the gallery written confirmations of payments. These steps are important particularly in the insolvency or bankruptcy setting, where the liquidator has the duty to identify assets belonging to the gallery that can be sold off for distribution of sale proceeds amongst its creditors, and segregate works of art that belong to different title owners which will need to be returned upon the gallery’s insolvency or bankruptcy.

 

The Art Market Adjusts: Changes in the workforce, Diana Wierbicki speaks with Sarah Murkett

I mentioned in a previous Q&A in this series that we are hearing buzzwords in the art industry during this pandemic, and unfortunately one of those buzzwords that is making many in the art world uncomfortable is “furlough.”  We’ve seen the news reports.  We know that there will be some employment adjustments.  So how can we all be proactive during these uncertain times?

In this Q&A, I speak with Sarah Murkett, Founder at Murk & Co, to discuss ways for employers and employees to turn the current situation into an opportunity to set goals, network, and improve skills.

Diana Wierbicki

Global Head of Art Law

The Art Market Adjusts: Changes in the work force

Diana: With hiring seemingly at a standstill at the moment, what would you suggest individuals do as we prepare for companies to begin hiring again?

Sarah: Let’s first acknowledge that we are in unprecedented territory here.  COVID-19 has created a global crisis the likes of which has not been seen since WWII that has resulted in a wide-spread economic shut-down.  Uncertainty rules and we are collectively focused on how to survive, both literally and financially.  And until we flatten the curve of infection, the world will remain in crisis mode.

It is estimated by NPR that around 17-million people in the United States have filed for unemployment over the last three weeks, which The New York Times claims, in a healthy economy, would normally hover around 500,000 in any given week.  That means that when jobs do open up there is going to be fierce competition for those positions, so now is a great time to prepare.

After you have gotten over the panic and settled into a new routine, allow yourself to slowdown.  Many of us were so busy in our pre-coronavirus lives that we never had a chance to stop and think about where we are in our careers and where we would like to go.  Take that time now and start to envision what you would like to be doing in five or ten years.  Once you have a goal then plotting a road map for how to get there is that much easier.

With your goal in mind then you should assemble your application documents.  Update your resume and work on the story of your career.  Your resume should be short and easy to read, with a focus on accomplishments and contributions, rather than a list of responsibilities.  And if you have not developed a strong verbal narrative to make sense of the choices that you have made in your career, explaining how you have arrived in the place you are today and the ways in which you would like to apply your experience to an opportunity that would allow for, even demand, continued growth with any company into the future, then now is the time to do so. Making a strong and confident presentation is the key to setting yourself apart.

And lastly, even though the rules of social distancing essentially have us on lock-down, it is important to take time for networking.  If there are companies that you are interested in connecting with then start following them on social media.  Participate in online programming, if this is something they are offering.  If someone that works at a company you are interested in joining is a friend of a friend then ask for an introduction to find out more about the culture there.  And get registered with recruiters in the field, sending them your resume and story, including the types of positions you are most interested in pursuing.

These tips are for all job seekers, whether they are currently employed or not.

Diana: In your experience, what skills have you found important to the art industry that you would suggest individuals work on developing during this time?

Sarah: While the art world is a niche industry, it also ranges across a number of diverse sectors including museums, auction houses, galleries, advisory firms, art fairs, publications, foundations, private collections, artist studios and art service companies, all with different functions and cultures.  But one area of concentration that any candidate would be wise to develop are soft skills.

If you do not know what soft skills are, they are valuable interpersonal skills that go beyond the basic requirements of the position (hard skills), and are often more important for small teams because these personal attributes are not really taught.  They include things like: adaptability, attitude, communication, creative thinking, work ethic, team work, networking, decision making, positivity, time management, motivation, flexibility, problem solving, critical thinking and conflict resolution.

Diana: What would you suggest companies work on?

Sarah:  This is an incredibly uncertain time for art world businesses.  With the disruption of revenue streams, most companies are trying to figure out how to stay afloat.  The first, and most important thing is to take a hard look at the business to determine the overall financial picture and come up with an action plan for cut backs on expenditures, research into ways in which the company might be able to apply for aid or funding, and ideas for pivoting into new ways of making money.

Once you have this picture then you need to work on ways to effectively communicate your plan to your community, both internally (employees, contractors, vendors) and externally (clients, general audience), truthfully with compassion and generosity.  In a time of high stakes, and even higher levels of anxiety, this is not an easy task.  But how companies behave through this crisis will have long-lasting effects on their community and reputational value in the field.

Diana: After going through this process of social distancing, do you anticipate the demands of the art industry will change?

Sarah: Technology. Technology. Technology.  The art world has been late to the game and this crisis has put a priority on the development of technology in a couple of key areas.

First, with the widespread closure of brick and mortar arts and culture institutions including museums, galleries and art fairs, there has been a rush to connect with audiences through the creation of online content.  So far this is a mixed bag.  There is an overwhelming amount of content to explore at varying levels of success.  And this makes sense because unlike Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom, who was born fully formed from Zeus’s head, digital media takes time to grow and nurture and you just kind of have to jump in and try things out to see what works.  And as with most things in the art world, these are not usually experts who are being asked to develop this content, but rather it could be the communications person who has dabbled in social media, or a member of the team who saw what needed to be done and raised their hand to help out.  They might not even have the right equipment or editing programs to create something on a professional level.  This is a dawning of a new age filled with experimentation, like the silent film era, and everyone is going to be trying different things out, learning by doing and seeing what works.  So, while we sit at home, looking for virtual ways to connect with our community, we are the guinea pigs.  But like with anything new, therein lies opportunity.  Digital is a growth area for any arts business and the industry will benefit exponentially from the investment in trained people to show us the way.

Second, as art world businesses are considered non-essential, let’s assume that if you are lucky enough to still have a job, most people are working remotely.  To work effectively from home, or any safe shelter a worker has chosen to hunker down for the duration, teams require technology to do so.  At the very least they need a strong internet connection, a computer and secure access to company files (usually on a cloud).  I also personally require a notebook to take notes.  For over a decade I keep something I call an office in a bag.  It weighs all of five pounds, and I can literally work from anywhere in the world with my setup.  And even when I do not have access to wifi I can use my smart phone as a hotspot.  This allows for freedom and flexibility.  And now that art workers are getting themselves set up to work this way, I am not sure that they are going to want to give it up.  So, moving forward employers should prepare for their employees to be asking for perks like a being able to work from home 1-2 days a week.  This is an easy enough thing for business to give their employees, whose presence is not required onsite.  It often leads to an improved quality of life, which results in happier people and increased productivity.  And these are results that any company should want to help facilitate.

Diana: What do you anticipate the role of a recruiter will be in this new space?

Sarah: What I do is simple to explain.  I am a matchmaker.  I help my clients to find the people that they need to run and grow their businesses.  I do this by listening so that I am able to develop an understanding of my clients’ needs on the one side and build trust relationships with the very best candidates in the field on the other.  My clients and candidates are bound to evolve as we navigate our way through this crisis.  As always, I am here to listen and think creatively about how to evolve with them.

As an example, I am working on developing a series of helpful resources, for employers and job seekers alike.  The first one will be on video interviewing, available through my soon to be regular newsletter.  So, if you are interested in hearing more, please sign up through my website murkandco.com.

LATER THIS WEEK, THE LRFA BLOG CONTINUES ITS INTERVIEW WITH SARAH MURKETT. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE ART OF RECRUITING FOR THE ART WORLD, PLEASE JOIN AT https://leslierankow.wordpress.com/

STAY SAFE!

 

The Art Market Adjusts: Artists interacting in new ways with Diana Wierbick’s Global Art Team at Withers

 

Social distancing has impacted all facets of the art industry, and the primary art market has not been immune. As our team continues to engage in these Q&As, a question that often arises is – How are artists doing? Some artists are using this time to reset, and others are coming together to cope. This is a time when many of us are in search of artistic inspiration to lift our spirts and help us process our current situation. Perhaps a silver lining is that we might witness some extraordinary art at the end of this, as the pandemic might present unexpected opportunities for artists to engage their creativity. To stay connected with the public and art collectors, some artists have turned to social media and virtual visits set-up through their galleries. In the last few weeks, museums and galleries have worked hard to bring art into our homes and provide us with ways to connect with artists online.

In the Q&A, my colleague Amanda Rottermund speaks to Sarah Calodney, Director at Lehmann Maupin, about gallery relationships with artists around the world and the tools artists are using to engage with collectors and the artist community.

Diana Wierbicki
Global Head of Art Law

The Art Market Adjusts: Artists interacting in new ways

Amanda: Sarah, you travel frequently to meet with artists and clients you work with, so this quarantine must be so unusual for you – how have you been connecting with them from your base in Dallas?

Sarah: I think the art world is built on personal relationships. Prior to this pandemic, in-person visits were the most meaningful way to connect with both collectors and artists. Showing up for a viewing or studio visit was literally half the battle. That of course has completely changed now. There are less connections expected of you but it’s been tough figuring out the right balance between checking in and giving everyone the mental space to adjust and cope. I have really enjoyed FaceTime calls with the artists I work with or sending encouraging texts back and forth. Artists really think about the world in such unique ways, so I love having their perspective during this time.

With clients, aside from checking in to see if everyone is safe and healthy, it’s more on a “they come to you” basis. I think it’s a great time for collectors to appreciate what they have already in their collection. So, I’ve been sending “hand typed” messages to clients updating them on artists they’ve collected over the years with recent news that may or may not have seen. It’s not often you get the time to read all of the articles and books published about your artists. Now we have the gift of time. So it’s a moment to find a new way of viewing that painting you acquired from me three years ago, or to open that catalogue sitting on your coffee table that you received from me as a holiday gift last year. It’s been nice actually connecting with a few on a more personal level than usual actually over email, text and even (gasps)…on old-fashioned phone calls. It’s always casual and no pressure. It’s surprising how much business has been getting done this way. I had to arrange my first virtual viewing this morning and I can see that becoming more common as we bridge the gap! So even though I’m physically in Dallas, I’m working to find connections on all levels.

Amanda: When we chatted last weekend, you mentioned Liza Lou had invited the public into her studio for a virtual studio visit. Is that something she had ever done before or was it directly correlated to the quarantine?

Sarah: It was a direct result of the quarantine. A lot of artists are doing virtual visits via their galleries or the Council at the New Museum and I know they are organizing a few virtual visits for members. But, for Liza’s, it’s open to the public which is really a beautiful thing. She created a website www.apartogether.com and an Instagram handle @apartogether_art for the project. You just need an Instagram account and you can log in. She is doing these studio visits weekly, inviting the public to sew with her, which is the main form of her practice.

Amanda: With so much more time for people to slow down and reflect, how do you think this global reset will affect artists you are working with? Are they taking this opportunity to dig deeper and find more space to create?

Sarah: I think artists are naturally isolated or at least our romantic notions of the artist in the studio alone working tirelessly late into the night conjures up those associations. In recent times artists have come away from that into more collaborative art making processes, whether its studios with a multitude of assistants or artists engaging with the public through performance work. There are many artists who are actually relishing this time to go back to the basics and be alone in their studio. We’ve personally had several artists respond that way and I think there will be some really important works made during this time of crisis. Angel Otero is one example of an artist who has been working tirelessly day and night on a new body of work that is unbelievable. He’s been texting me a few photos and I can tell he is really driven from a visceral reaction to the state of the world. I can’t wait to hopefully show it in real life.

After all, art is an essential element of human nature and it allows us to see the world in new ways never thought possible. Think about the great German artists and art that emerged in the post- World War II trauma. Gerhard Richter’s blurred black and white paintings, including my favorite work of art of all time, the Baader-Meinhof cycle, which was a direct result of the after effects of war. Or Kiefer’s heavy and awe encompassing paintings which were literally built up from the ruins of war. If you wanted a more direct correlation, there were huge advancements made in art as a result of the bubonic plague. I think Da Vinci designed a whole city then. Of course, every artist is responding differently. Some artists are taking a step back from producing, or experiencing severe anxiety and not engaging, which is totally fine too. Not every artist needs to “produce” great work right now and they shouldn’t feel any pressure to do that.

Amanda: You work with artists who live all over the world. Do you see any cultural differences in how artists are processing and working under the effects of the global pandemic? Have you seen any artists coming together to cope with the effects in dialogue with one another?

Sarah: It seems like our artists based in China (like Liu Wei) and Korea (such as Lee Bul) are already back to work as normal. Though, I think the response is less culturally motivated and more related to the art they make. For example Liza Lou’s work has always had a community aspect to the practice helping those most in need, so it makes sense that her work now would be about community outreach during the COVID reality we all face. She’s invited the public to make a comfort blanket with her. Depression and isolation are very scary and real side effects of this pandemic and Liza is interested in addressing that and channeling that emotion and energy in an uplifting way. The simple act of making art is restorative. It’s been proven to help people coping with depression or drug addiction, just ask Hunter Biden or Vincent van Gogh.

The process of recruiting the perfect job candidate with Sarah Murkett, founder of Murk & Co.

Recruiting for the Art World

THE CLARION LIST, A COMPREHENSIVE VETTED ONLINE DIRECTORY FOR ART WORLD SERVICES, FOUNDED BY FORMER CHRISTIE’S EXECUTIVES, JESSICA PAINDIRIS AND GAIA BANOVICH, INTERVIEWED HERE AT THE LRFA BLOG IN 2018, POSTED AN INFORMATIVE ARTICLE ON ART MARKET RECRUITERS IN JULY 2019, MATCHMAKERS: HOW ART MARKET RECRUITERS FIND THE PERFECT FIT.

IT STATES:

In January 2018, the American Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median employee tenure was 4.3 years. This means that Americans change jobs, on average, every 4.3 years, which works out to more than 12 moves over a 50-year career. There is also early evidence that shows a trend towards an even shorter median tenure. Gone are the days of spending an entire career with one company. Today’s job market is all about making smart transitions.

Whether you are a job-hunter seeking your next position, or a hiring manager looking to fill a vacancy on your team, a recruiter can provide a wider range of options and help you make the right choices. 

https://www.clarionlist.com/blog/matchmakers-how-art-market-recruiters-find-the-perfect-fit.html

THE ART WORLD IS UNDERGOING RADICAL CHANGES DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS, A CATALYST IN TRANSFORMING THE WAY IN WHICH WE VIEW, PRESENT AND MARKET ART. THE SHIFT FROM THE BRICKS AND MORTAR WORLD TO THE DIGITAL ONE BECAME A REQUISITE, NOT JUST A CHOICE OR AN ADDITIONAL MARKETING VEHICLE AS ALL THE GALLERIES, ART FAIRS, MUSEUMS, AND PRIVATE DEALERS HAVE HAD TO SHUT THEIR DOORS FOR THE DURATION.

SPECIALISTS IN  IT, MARKETING, CURATING, AND CREATING ART-TECH INITIATIVES,  A VIRTUAL PLATFORM FOR THE ART WORLD , ARE IN INCREASING DEMAND. LATER THIS MONTH, FOR EXAMPLE, HAUSER & WIRTH IS LAUNCHING ARTLAB AT ITS MENORCA LOCATION, A NEW INITIATIVE EMPLOYING HWVR, A NEW VIRTUAL REALITY THAT CREATES  3-DIMENSIONAL ENVIRONMENTS FOR THEIR VIRTUAL EXHIBITIONS.

Hauser & Wirth, Menorca
ArtLab

HAVING VAST EXPERIENCE IN DIFFERENT PROFESSIONAL ROLES IN THE ART WORLD, IT WAS A NATURAL SEGUE FOR SARAH MURKETT, FOUNDER AND OWNER OF MURK & CO., TO OPEN A RECRUITING AGENCY  FOR ART INSTITUTIONS AND GALLERIES.

THE LRFA BLOG IS PLEASED TO WELCOME SARAH BACK TO ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE STRUCTURE AND POLICIES OF MURK & CO.

HOW DOES THE SEARCH WORK?

My client’s needs are the beginning of any search.  The first step is getting to know my client, their culture and the particulars regarding the open position.  I go to my network of registered candidates first, then look at new applicants that come in through job postings.  And finally I do new research and outreach for passive candidates that are currently in jobs that I am not in touch with that might be good for the role.

Even if I know them, I speak to interested candidates about the role to determine suitability (hard skills, soft skills, culture fit, geography, work status, salary requirements).  When a suitable candidate is identified and is interested in the role then I put them forward.  I then await feedback from my client.  If my client is interested in a particular candidate then we arrange for a 1st interview.  I recommend at least three interviews with the candidate meeting various members of the team. 

Eventually a winning candidate is identified and then the real work begins with my client making an offer, followed by contract negotiations, with common concerns being, salary, health care, 401K, paid time off, with work-life balance issues becoming increasingly important to candidates.

Art Table Talk
Photo by Imogen Fairbairn.

 

WHAT ARE THE REASONS A COMPANY/GALLERY/MUSEUM WOULD BENEFIT FROM WORKING WITH A RECRUITING FIRM RATHER THAN ATTEMPTING A SEARCH BY THEMSELVES OR VIA, PERHAPS, LINKEDIN OR SOME OTHER COMPARABLE SITE?

I recently gave a talk on recruiting to ArtTable members as part of their Professional Empowerment Series and specifically addressed this question.  Here are five reasons why an employer would want to use a recruiter:

  1. Small business syndrome – Art world business are often small and might not have the man-power and in-house know-how to conduct a thorough search and so it makes sense to hire an outside consultant, such as a recruiter for their expert help
  2. The search for highly skilled labor – Today companies are not training employees up and promoting from within and are instead looking to hire people who are already trained and so need help to recruit this highly skilled labor
  3. Passive candidates – Recruiters have a network of talented candidates who are currently in jobs, as well as the ability to earn the title “head-hunter” when they approach potential candidates who may not be actively looking
  4. Partnership – When you engage a recruiter you should be shopping for a business partner that will be given access behind the curtain, which will empower them to offer guidance and advice like an insider every step of the way, helping to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that the best match is found
  5. Diversity – A large number of people get hired through an internal network.  Unless you are starting with a diverse workforce to begin with, then referred candidates are likely to be like those that referred them.  A recruiter can help break this cycle and introduce people from outside of existing networks

HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST ENTERED THE ART WORLD AND WHAT ARE THE WAYS IN WHICH MURK & CO ARE PARTICULARLY RESPONSIVE TO THESE CHANGES?

There are sooooo many things.  It’s hard for even me to believe but I graduated from college 24-years ago.  The most significant evolution that Murk & Co hopes to positively contribute to is the continual professionalization of the industry.  The art world is full of businesses that started as passion projects, and I like to say that you do not know how to do something in the best way, unless you are taught.  Essentially these small business owners need guidance about best practices when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.  This is precisely where Murk & Co can step in to help.  The field is becoming increasingly competitive in every sector and so companies that feel like their employees are just lucky to have a job are going to be left behind. 

WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS TO CANDIDATES IN ORDER TO RETAIN THE EMPLOYMENT YOU HAVE FOUND FOR THEM?

Like any relationship, employment is a two-way street.  I find that the employer is often as much a part of the reason why a particular candidate does not work out, as anything that the candidate might be responsible for.  Part of my job is to try and lay out the position, with all of its perks and challenges, to candidates, and to be honest with my clients about the particular strengths and weaknesses of the candidates I am putting forward.  But teams in the art world are very small and success often comes down to chemistry.  So, despite best intensions, it is still an imperfect process.

WHAT IS THE GENERAL ARRANGEMENT BETWEEN MURK & CO AND THE CANDIDATE AND THE COMPANY HIRING?  WHAT HAPPENS IF IT DOESN’T WORK OUT AFTER A SHORT TIME OR ISN’T THERE A TRIAL PERIOD?

There is usually a rebate period to the client if the candidate does not work out within a specified period, but sometimes it might just be conducting another search to find a replacement candidate.  Outside of the specific reasons for why the engagement did not work out and how that reflects on the candidate’s reputation, this has no impact on the candidate.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA POST, SARAH WILL SHARE HER  FUTURE PLANS FOR MURK & CO.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT CANDIDATE, OR RESTAFFING AFTER THE LOCKDOWN OF COVID-19 IS FINALLY OVER, CONTACT SARAH TO PROVIDE HER EXPERT HELP IN RECRUITING FOR THE ART WORLD.

https://murkandco.com/