Art Market

Collectors buying from a Christie’s exhibition of works by Black artists must pledge not to flip them.

Daria Simone Harper
Aug 14, 2020 4:16PM, via Artnet News

Juwon Aderemi, Singer, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton, 2020.

Christie’s auction house and curator Destinee Ross-Sutton are asking collectors to sign a special contract when they buy works from the house’s selling exhibition, “Say It Loud (I’m Black and Proud).” The show—which features works by 22 emerging and mid-career Black artists—is centered around the promotion of Black art, and aims to prevent the flipping of artwork by giving artists 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their work.

Within the confines of the contract, buyers must agree not to resell the work on the secondary market for at least five years; if they decide to sell, they’re required to give artist right of first refusal; and, if they sell to someone else, they must give 15 percent of the sale proceeds to the artist. Though she was initially somewhat skeptical about how collectors would respond to the contract, Ross-Sutton told Artnet News: “It’s basically been a feeding frenzy. It’s encouraging that people aren’t going radio silent when you send the agreement.”

The selling exhibition, on view through August 18th, includes works by South African artist Nelson Makamo, Nigerian artist Juwon Aderemi, and Los Angeles-based painter YoYo Lander, among others. With prices ranging from $475 for a limited-edition print by artist Cary Fagan to $43,000 each for two large works by Makamo, between 75 and 80 percent of the available works have already been sold to both collectors and institutions.

Celine Cunha, a junior specialist in Christie’s post-war and contemporary art department and co-chairman of the employee initiatives group under Christie’s corporate social responsibility division, told Artnet she aims “to provide a platform to amplify artists’ voices, using the Christie’s space and global reach to give back directly to the artistic community.”

In conjunction with the show, Christie’s has presented a set of online events curated by the Harlem Arts Alliance, including an artist talk, a live vocal performance, and a panel of art-world leaders discussing new modes of equitable artist engagement.

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Daria Simone Harper
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019