Christie’s Wants You To Think Its New Contemporary Sale Is Hardcore

Still from Christie's promotional video for May 12
Still from Christie's promotional video for May 12 "If I Live I'll See you Tuesday" contemporary art sale.

Christie’s unconventional promotional video for tonight’s contemporary sale, “If I Live I’ll See You Next Tuesday,” which casts the sale as dangerously hardcore, has been turning heads on the interwebs, but not necessarily for the reasons that the auction house might have hoped.

The four-minute video features professional skateboarder Christopher Martin zooming around the auction house’s warehouse and show room on his board, grinding, flipping, and even wiping out (although he manages, just barely, not to crash into one of the big-ticket artworks).

The thundering bass of AWOLNATION’s “Sail” provides an oh-so-edgy soundtrack as Martin flies past a Richard Prince “Cowboy” photo, a Wade Guyton print, and a massive Peter Doig landscape, among other works.

Although the Huffington Post called the video “pretty fantastic,” Jerry Saltz had some less positive thoughts about the gritty marketing for the so-called “curated” sale: “I say it’s just a bullshit ploy to massage client egos and reel in rubes,” he wrote on Vulture.

“I thought the video was ridiculous,” said Michael Miller, the New York Observer‘s art critic. “As if they’re marketing to a bunch of punk rockers who like skateboarding but, you know, have an extra $10 million just on standby to spend on a Warhol.”

Gallerist was even more scathing in its write up:

Look! There he goes, right past one of Richard Prince’s cowboys! And there! High-fiving the delivery guy! ON A SKATEBOARD. Behold a totally tubular, uh, flip of said skateboard (I don’t get paid enough to look up official skateboarding lingo) as he eases past a hilariously unsmiling Christie’s specialist, leaping over a stack of rugs, which are rolled up, and are presumably not included in this sale of contemporary art, though they undoubtedly encapsulate the gritty, underbelly-esque side of rugs. Huzzah!

According to Christie’s, the works for sale represent “a uniquely dark and unflinching view of some of the best contemporary art created over the past five decades.” The auction house’s 33-year-old contemporary-art expert Loic Gouzer has been dubbed the sale’s curator.

If you aren’t able to make it out to tonight’s auction, be sure to check out the video, which, according to the Los Angeles Times, “may be the lamest visual production since James Franco got all dressed up in bearded drag not long ago to play at being Cindy Sherman.”


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