Main menu


Christie's 'Art Handler' shirt draws criticism from cultural workers –

featured image

Christie’s and Highsnobiety’s new apparel collaboration has drawn criticism from art handler organizations, who see the joint retail project as exploitative.

Jointly launched by Christie’s and an online fashion publisher, the apparel line features “Art Handler” sweatshirts, t-shirts, and totes priced from $50 to $125. Marketing to promote the line Her campaign depicts models in clothes brandishing Christie’s logo. One poses at the auctioneer’s bidding phone bank, while another of hers walks out the front door of the home’s New York headquarters. The third poses for Art in her warehouse.

Related article

The Art Handlers Alliance, an art handlers labor advocacy group, claims Christie’s benefits from art handlers’ low wages. It criticized its insensitive approach, which critics say glorifies employee work.

In a press release announcing the new line, Highsnobiety described the concept behind the product’s design as an attempt to blur the lines “between streetwear and luxury.”

The venture follows Christie’s recently launched streetwear Department X. Department X was launched last month as a division dedicated to streetwear and sporting goods under the luxury division.

The move comes as the market for pop culture memorabilia soars. Leading the collaboration with Highsnobiety is High Beast Division X, which aims to capitalize on his ever-growing base of collectors.

Christie’s anonymous arthandler and member of the Teamsters Local 814 union chapter said: art news Auction staff shared the Alliance’s view.

“We were collectively outraged by this campaign, not just for ourselves, but for working men, women, and the gender-deaf community at large,” the source said.

Art handlers have been hit hard by the pandemic as galleries and museums have been forced to cut contractors and many operational staff have lost their jobs to freelance gigs amid budget cuts due to COVID-19. I got hit. In 2020, employees at his UOVO, a New York-based art handling and storage company, faced the threat of job cuts in an effort to unionize during the coronavirus pandemic. .

According to the same source, auction house art handlers are eligible for overtime but are subject to a “tighter” sales schedule, which they described as “polishing.”

Members of Christie’s art handling team in New York met with operations managers on Thursday to discuss concerns about the campaign.

“This is an illustration of the larger class struggle that we fight every day,” the source said.

In a statement, a Christie’s representative said the auction house apologized to staff who criticized the campaign and said it was “taking appropriate steps to ensure this does not happen again.”