Earlier this year, a painting by Amoako Boafo sold (read: flipped), at Phillips in London for $881,432 — over 10 times its estimate, and more than 3,000 percent what the seller had originally paid for it less than a year earlier.
As often the case with speculating and flipping works, the artist did not see a penny from the sale. And many argue that this kind of secondary-market exposure can hurt emerging artists’ careers who haven’t yet had time to mature and grow.
In response to this unique art market phenomenon where works are flipped for quick financial gain, Christie’s, along with curator Destinee Ross-Sutton are asking collectors to sign a contract when they buy works from their selling exhibition, “Say It Loud (I’m black and Proud).” The show, which is giving 100 percent of proceeds from the sale to the artists, opened on July 31 and features works by 22 emerging and mid-career Black artists. The curator and the auction house reported to have gone above and beyond to ensure that buyers won’t flip the works post-sale for a profit.
Within the contract buyers must sign, they agree not to resell the works on the secondary market for at least five years and should they decide to sell, they are required to give artists the right of first refusal. If the artist agrees to sell after five years, they are entitled to 15 percent of the sale proceeds.
The exhibition, on view through August 18th, included works by South African artist Nelson Makamo, Nigerian artist Juwon Aderemi, and New York-based artist Kiyomi Taylor, among others. With prices ranging from $475 for a limited-edition print by artist Cary Fagan to $43,000 each for two large works by Makamo, over three-fourths of the available works have already been sold to collectors and institutions.
Celine Cunha, a specialist of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s and co-chairman of the employee initiatives group under Christie’s corporate social responsibility department, told Artnet she aims “to provide a platform to amplify artists’ voices, using the Christie’s space and global reach to give back directly to the artistic community.”
Along with the show, Christie’s organised a set of online events curated by the Harlem Arts Alliance, which include artist talks, live performances and panel discussions of art-world leaders discussing new modes of equitable artist engagement.