Sotheby’s Taps Drake to Select Soundtrack for Private Sale

Drake. Photo: via Billboard.

Sotheby‘s is teaming up with rapper Drake, whom they’ve dubbed one of today’s “foremost cultural tastemakers,” to select a soundtrack for a selling exhibition of works by black American contemporary artists. Furthering the trend to equate any act of selection with the work of curators, the house calls it “musical curation.”

The show will include Rashid Johnson, Nick Cave, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and visitors will be able to experience Drake’s musical selections at listening stations throughout the gallery.

Somehow, the Canadian rapper has managed to remain unbitten by the art collecting bug, but a spokesperson told the New York Times that he “draws a lot of inspiration from visual artists.” He apparently also has friends in the art world, as the collaboration reportedly came about through a “personal connection” within Sotheby’s contemporary art department, and the rapper is providing his services gratis.

On the heels of a lackluster year of sales in 2014 (see Sotheby’s Third Quarter Private Sales Plummet 61 Percent), Sotheby’s is continuing to invest in the private sale model, building special exhibition spaces in New York and London. For members of the roving international art elite, who appreciate discretion and may not wish to wait for seasonal auctions, private sales offer an attractive alternative, and they do account for only about 10% of the company’s overall sales (see What Sotheby’s Isn’t Advertising About Its Private Sales).

Is getting a celebrity to DJ your art sale a shameless ploy for attention on the auction house’s part? Totally. But as we’ve seen time and time again, celebrity sells. Even (especially?) in the art world. As if Drake didn’t provide enough celebrity firepower, the music will be delivered via Beats by Dre headphones.

And, hey, at least Drake is more palatable than Kanye (see Kanye West Curates With Richard Prince, Anish Kapoor, and Cecily Brown and Give Newly Appointed Dr. Kanye West a Chance to Curate the Venice Biennale).

The sale will take place at Sotheby’s New York headquarters from April 28–June 12.


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