First Sotheby’s locked out their art handlers, and now they are locking out the general public. GalleristNY reports that the auction giant is limiting access to its 10th floor galleries where some of the house’s most valuable lots are on view before this week’s sales. While usually anyone is allowed to view the works, now you have to be either a member of the press or a Sotheby’s account holder to gain access. If you’re neither of those, not to worry — you just need a $5,000 line of credit to see the art.
Sotheby’s move is intended to prevent more protests from Occupy Wall Street, who have joined the Teamsters Local 814 art handlers in protest on several occasions, including at last week’s Occupy Museums rally. Occupy Wall Street also disrupted a mid-season Contemporary at Sotheby’s last month.
Emerson Bowyer, a Columbia doctoral candidate in art history, told GalleristNY:
I simply cannot believe that they are preventing the general public from even accessing these works which, for the most part, spend their entire lives in private collections.
Here’s a thought, Sotheby’s: how about actually negotiating with the art handlers to bring them back to work rather than shutting more doors and penalizing visitors?