Christie’s Taps Deidrea Miller, an Arts Pro Who Previously Worked in the Mayor’s Office, to Lead Its Communications Strategy in the Americas

The appointment comes as auction houses are embracing new technology and courting younger audiences.

Deidrea Miller. Photo by Jens Schott Knudsen

Auction houses have seen major shakeups in their executive ranks over the past year. The latest changing of the guard is happening at Christie’s, where Deidrea Miller, a veteran arts public relations executive, has been appointed head of communications for Christie’s Americas, based in New York.

Miller most recently served as director at Brunswick Arts, where she advised clients including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Before that, she was deputy communications director to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, overseeing external relations for 24 city agencies, including cultural affairs, economic development, and media and entertainment.

She also advised the mayor’s office on constructing monuments for women, minorities, and LGBTQ icons (she was integral in the addition of Sojourner Truth to Central Park’s statue of suffragettes) as well as on the removal of controversial statues.

“Christie’s is the world’s premiere art and luxury business,” Miller told Artnet News. “I love their embrace of technology and bold ideas. I am excited to join them and help expand the market to new buyers and engage art lovers.”

Miller joins Christie’s at a moment of unprecedented change for auction houses. Less than 15 years ago, they functioned in a manner not too dissimilar to they way they worked 150 years ago—liaising with valued clients, organizing in-person public auctions, and relying on niche expertise from specialists. But in recent years—and especially within the past 18 months—these old-school businesses have been forced to embrace online sales, NFTs, and pop-culture memorabilia as they court younger audiences and work to transform themselves into fully-fledged luxury businesses.

Miller will replace Erin McAndrew, who has worked at Christie’s since 2008 and is now an independent consultant working with NFT startup TR Lab.

“Deidrea manages chaos with grace and calm—making every one of the 20-plus agencies she worked with on my team feel that they had her complete attention,” said Vicki Been, deputy mayor for housing and economic development in New York City. (The mayor even named her “Director of Joy” during the pandemic, Been noted, a role that saw her highlight locked-down cultural organizations’ digital offerings.)

Guggenheim deputy director and chief curator Naomi Beckwith praised Miller as someone who “[understands] everything from language to structures to audience” and can “convey voice and vision in the most impactful way.”

Miller was raised in Alabama and earned her BA in history from the University of Michigan and her MA in marketing from the University of Melbourne in Australia. She is on the boards of Scenic Hudson and Socrates Sculpture Park and has previously served on the boards of the Shed and the University of Melbourne.

The Big Three houses have all seen major turnover in their communications teams recently. Last fall, Karina Sokolovsky, formerly a communications executive at Equinox, took over as chief communications officer at Sotheby’s from Lauren Gioia, who is now working as an independent consultant. Cat Manson, Christie’s longtime head of global communications, also left to work independently, and was replaced by Natasha Le Bel. Phillips, meanwhile, hired Magda Grigorian to its top communications post last fall.

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