eBay Chief Curator Michael Moskowitz Departs the Company

eBay does not have plans to replace him.

Photo: Chiaki Kato.

eBay global chief curator Michael Phillips Moskowitz is leaving the online auctions platform, which recently partnered with Sotheby’s on an art sales vertical, to pursue other opportunities. Moskowitz shared the news of his departure during an exclusive phone call with artnet News.

“As an entrepreneur, the time eventually comes when you have to leave a company,” Moskowitz explained. “I will no longer be the global chief curator of eBay, but there will still be lots of stuff that I continue to do in the art world.”

Moskowitz joined eBay in August 2013 when the company acquired his men’s shopping and lifestyle website Bureau of Trade. His primary function at the company has been to revamp its public image by creating a more curated, refined experience for shoppers.

“When I came to eBay I was tasked by the now-CEO Devin Wenig with an ambitious mandate: help catalyze a paradigmatic shift in public perception of eBay, both as a brand and as a business,” Moskowitz says. “I’ve worked tirelessly with friends and colleagues on that mission, from curation and collections to content, pilot programs, new product development, and support with the fine art program.”

According to Moskowitz, eBay does not have plans to directly replace him, and will continue with their high-profile Sotheby’s partnership. Moskowitz recently curated contemporary auction for the venture alongside Dustin Yellin, independent curator Roya Sachs, and fashion designer Katie Ermilio.

“I think it’s an interesting development that they won’t have a leading ‘creative’ behind that initiative,” he said. “[But] my role, at least with regard to the Sotheby’s partnership, was always centered around program stewardship—providing passion, inspiration, creativity, originality, personal connections, and outside-in thinking to inform, goad, guide, and strengthen key stakeholders and decision-makers. Those same leaders remain firmly in place and my departure shouldn’t impact their ability to execute.”

Moskowitz characterizes the split as amicable, explaining that he made an initial two-year commitment to eBay, and didn’t necessarily plan to remain past that period of time.

He fondly recalls a phone conversation with Wenig that took place around 3am on a darkened Tel Aviv street corner. “He said to me ‘I want to make you the first chief curator we’ve ever had.’ It was the most exciting thing I had ever heard. And he said we need you to be here for two years, and I said okay.”

Though Moskowitz’s next career move remains to be seen, he notes that he has no intention of abandoning the art world.

“Business is never finished,” he says. “I’ve gotta go back to my core purpose and passion, which is start-ups. And when I say start-ups, I mean supporting young entrepreneurs, supporting young artists, helping people to achieve and cultivate their dreams.”


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