Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
We are the 99 percent

Tonight: Shut Down Sotheby's!

Posted 11 years ago on May 2, 2012, 2:48 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

The Scream

Tonight, at an exclusive 7pm auction, Sotheby's is expected to sell Edvard Munch's iconic painting "The Scream" for $80 million dollars. Outside, Occupy and labor allies will protest the Upper East Side art auction house in solidarity with 43 locked-out art handlers who have been replaced by Sotheby's with low wage temporary workers with no benefits.

Catering exclusively to the mega-rich (by providing a service that makes them richer and more exclusive,) Sotheby's is perhaps the most quintessentially 1% institution there is. Founded before the industrial era, it was the first company ever listed on the NY Stock Exchange, and today (despite the current "recession") is more profitable than at any other time in its 260-year history. Meanwhile, the Sotheby's workers who make those profits possible are given the shaft. Enough is enough. The 99% will not stand silent as union-busting companies like Sotheby's wage class war against us.

If you don't like Diana Taylor or Brookfield Properties (or if you liked Liberty Square), come Shut Down Sotheby's. Diana Taylor is on the board at Sotheby's and Brookfield, and told union members she would resign if the CEO gave the workers what they asked for.

If you love art, and believe that art belongs to all people, not to private wealth, please come shut down Sotheby's.

If you believe that paintings shouldn't sell for $80 million dollars, while some people can't afford food, rent, and medicine, come shut down Sotheby's.

If you believe that ALL workers have a right organize, come shut down Sotheby's.

If you believe the 99% must stand together, come shut down Sotheby's!

7PM @ 72nd and York Ave, NYC





Read the Rules
[-] 4 points by Unrealityisreal (4) 11 years ago

Great job guys! You're efforts didn't go unnoticed. Thanks to your dedication and bravery, you made history. The Scream was auctioned for $119.9M, a new record! Clearly you are shutting down the 1%. Pat yourselves on the back.


[-] 3 points by Endgame (535) 11 years ago

This is a prime example of the Occupy movement wasting its time on dumb shit like this. Do you really think you're going to bring in more supporters by doing this? How does this fix any of the real problems?

Occupy's prime core focus(but not the only one) should be GETTING OUTSIDE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS!

It frustrates the shit out of me to see this movement wasting its potential on meaningless shit like this. You know how many new comers you gain by this? Not a single one. Come the fuck on guys. Get serious.


[-] 3 points by Shoshannah (5) 11 years ago

This art should be in a museum where everybody can see it! Like the Metropolitain where you can donate a quarter and see all you want. I am an artist. We have an art meeting tonite, will see if I can get people to come.

[-] 2 points by Kraus (19) 11 years ago

You know that a lot of art in museums is privately owned. They are on display in museums because the owner let's them borrow it. If works like this weren't privately owned, much of the art you see in museums would have been lost to history a long time ago. Thank them for buying works like this so that they can continue to be enjoyed by everyone who visits a museum.


[-] -2 points by cooperbl (-88) 11 years ago

why should this painting ( a third rate one) be in a museum? You say you're an artist, is it a hobby or do you want to be paid for your art?

[-] 2 points by proudofOKC (361) 11 years ago

You think "The Scream" is third rate? It's famous worldwide. Every art and art history textbook I've ever seen has a picture of this painting in it. A picture of this painting was recorded onto the disk sent with the Voyager spacecraft into deep space as something that represents our species. I'm not trying to argue artistic aesthetics with you, but come on.

[-] -1 points by cooperbl (-88) 11 years ago

Yes , I think "The Scream " is third rate.Art is subjective.

[-] 1 points by proudofOKC (361) 11 years ago

Okay I'm not going to argue further.

[-] -1 points by cooperbl (-88) 11 years ago

you have nothing to argue about.

[-] 1 points by Julian (57) from St Lucia, QLD 11 years ago

Seriously you're a fucking idiot, please fuck off. This is not a third rate painting, you know nothing about art at all.



[-] -1 points by cooperbl (-88) 11 years ago

It is third rate. You're being told it's great. If you look at his other works , you would know that. It's famous for being stolen.

[-] 3 points by Ruckasse (28) from Norwood, NC 11 years ago

If you are making low wages, tired of not being able to pay for food, clothing, and shelter, then now is the time to protest. Money powers like art. Make them pay. OWS keep up the good work.


[-] 2 points by JackPulliam3rd (205) 11 years ago

This reminds me of the Dark Knight Rises trailer when Bane leads the crowd to attack the rich folk.

[-] 2 points by kkrinklkrankl (2) from Gold Canyon, AZ 11 years ago

Ahhhh Phooey! There are 2 issues here. 1) The "austerity for the workers vs. the shameful self-enrichment of the CEO" and 2) the f*d up art market that has turned our collective creative heritage over to the greediest few to control, divvy up, dole out ("donate"... Oh thank you, most great and powerful rich person for these undeserved blessings from your most holy vault) and to use as a cash cow, when not needed for prestige purposes. I would love to make just a very modest living for my family, as an artist. I, and many other artists, would love to have our artistic output freely enjoyed by the masses. They shouldn't have to thank a few Rockefellers for allowing them to view some teeny percentage of the available art for a quarter. I find it extremely galling the way the 1%'s control of the art market has co-opted the gifts we artists wish to share with our fellow humans and turned them into chips to be traded amongst themselves. I think Loveoflife's arguments are flawed in that there are other ways to provide a home for art, besides having some uber-priviledged shmo spend 80 million on a single item; and the argument that jobs would be lost without Sotheby's is like saying we can't stop clear-cutting forests "because of the jobs!" JPMcMahon, you foil your own argument at the end. Yes, without the 1%, there wouldn't be an art market, as it stands today, in it's ever-more-putrid form. I feel gross, as a painter, to think that if I want to paint a large painting, only million or billion)aires could afford to buy it from me. I don't really like those people, hogging up the worlds most lovely real estate with their multiple McMansions, as they do. It's not like po' folks aren't wondrous, special people, who would like to treasure and appreciate original works of art, in their own homes... they simply can't afford even the insurance, let alone the purchase price. It is time to shift our thinking. Let us move out of the 18th Century towards a more just world where human creativity can be shared, without a stinking price tag, already.

[-] 1 points by badguy (-25) from Baltimore, OH 11 years ago

Blah, blah, blah. I'm curious. If artistic creativity belongs to everybody, then are you saying that nobody should be allowed to own art? If nobody were allowed to own art, then what would we hang on our walls? Maybe you just don't feel that rich people should be allowed to have pictures. What are they supposed to hang on their walls? If only "poor" people are deserving enough to own artwork, who decides who gets what? Do you decide who is cool enough to hang out with you thus being worthy of owning artwork? Maybe we should just have a lottery. I'm sorry you don't like rich people. That's understandabe. I know that in all my years of living in the real world, not one single billionaire has ever just handed me thousands of dollars just because I thought I deserved his money for whatever misguided reason. After all, what in the world has Bill Gates ever done for anyone? Stupid rich assholes! Durrrgh?

[-] 1 points by JPMcMahon (18) 11 years ago

kkrink, I must say that you have a very high opinion of your own art if you are having to deal with "millionaires". Not that there is anything wrong with that! Artists have to have an ego. But I own several large canvases, and I didn't pay over a grand for any of them. And they are oils in a realistic style, and visitors to my dwelling love them, or are frightened by them which is just as good. Your post shows that you are worried about a whole lot of other shit that you have little control over, and I think you should focus more on your art, if that is what you want to do. And if someone wanted to give you a nice chunk of money to support yourself for something that you created, how is that a bad thing? Wealthy patrons will always support the fine arts. It is a human thing that goes back to the Pharaohs and beyond. Even in Commie Land, the government in the form of Commissars was the patron. Watch the movie "The Agony and the Ecstasy" to get some perspective, particularly on Michelangelo's suffering. Watch "Lust for Life" too. I find your last statement incredibly wrong. All human creativity can be shared, world wide, instantaneously, for free. We're doing it right now.


[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23771) 11 years ago

It is bad enough that the art world has become just another greedy industry where the art is valued for the almighty dollar rather than any contribution it makes to society. But, to treat the employees, the workers, the human beings, so poorly, well that is another thing altogether. Good luck with the shut down.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 years ago

sotherbees should know better than to pad their workers better

[-] 2 points by StephenRCasciola (5) 11 years ago

this is about the fact that we live in a world that has become so corrupt that many business's are using temporary employees with no benefits because it is the only way they can stay IN BUSINESS. Employers cant afford to pay workers what they once could. It was nothing personal, and wasnt motivated out of greed but rather motivated out of survival. Stephen R. Casciola

[-] 2 points by i8jomomma (80) 11 years ago

do the right thing and shut it down





[-] 1 points by anonfella (1) 11 years ago

Whoever spent that money is a fool, I just downloaded a copy and its just as good as the original. The days of owning art are kind of pointless in this day and age, back then it would have been ok because the digital world didn't exist. I'm going to Photoshop it and make it better. What a tard, have you ever heard of google images, flicker, tweetpic lol lol I can't stop laughing at the fool that purchased it lol


[-] 1 points by atypicalperson (1) 11 years ago

Why bother? It's like fighting for the crumbs. How about building systems to take care of ourselves rather than depending on the wealthy? Screw fighting for the right to be a peasant! Getting these people their jobs back will do nothing to stop the cycle that lets the rich get richer off of our sweat, blood and labor. Hell, they have us over a barrel so bad, that in order to survive in their world we have to be exploited. Fuck that! We need to abandon the rich and secure for ourselves our future. Build a new system already.


[-] 1 points by stephenadler (118) 11 years ago

The painting sold for 119.5 million.. that's $119,500,000. There is no clearer evidence that too much money has been hoarded by too few...


[-] 0 points by truchungfu (4) from Altoona, PA 11 years ago

You say hoarded..... I say earned.


[-] 1 points by Loveoflife (1) 11 years ago

The entire art market is based, not only on the love and appreciation of art, but on the possibility that an affordable painting by an unknown artist might appreciate in value over time. The fact that paintings are bought and sold for $80 million dollars plus enables artists like Shoshanna to donate a quarter to the met and see cherished works of art from around the world.
In the art world, the success of auction houses determines the success of museums, galleries, not for profits, and artists. If you succeed in shutting down Sotheby's, how many livelihoods will you destroy?

[-] 1 points by MachineShopHippie (216) from Louisville, KY 11 years ago

I agree that you should be able to buy whatever you want with your own money. If you choose to spend $80M on a painting, or housing every single homeless person in NYC, or buying a stealth bomber or a barge load of heroin, it's your money.

Shutting down Sotheby's is about solidarity with their unionized art handlers, Teamster's Local 814.


"As has been reported in the past, Sotheby’s art house has locked out 43 art handlers represented by the Teamsters for refusing to take a 10 percent pay cut in the same year their company's CEO, Bill Ruprecht, saw his salary double to $6 million and the company saw a profit of $680 million. Throughout the lockout, Sotheby’s has spent $2.4 million on union-busters. On January 1st of this year the 43 workers lost their health care benefits."

Again, this isn't about privatization of art. It's about ANOTHER company taking money away from the employees while rewarding the CEOs. It's about austerity in the form of reduced compensation and benefits. Remember, folks... we're talking about a 10% pay cut across 43 people. Even if they were paid $80,000 per year, which I suspect is high, the money saved couldn't be more than $500,000 total. Half a million. But rather than treat their employees fairly, they spend 5 times that amount trying to bust a union.

Those 43 people are not bigger than Sotheby's, and the auction house can treat them pretty much however it wants to. It can replace them with low paid, part time workers who receive no benefits. (Already has)

This is exactly why they need the Teamsters, and exactly why they need Occupy. Those 43 people are really only .0000013%, all things considered. But together we are the 99%.

Shut down Sotheby's.



[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 11 years ago

We got 600,000 people to move from banks to credit unions...changed the entire political discourse...saved numerous families from foreclosure...

Yeah, Occupy didn't do jack shit!

[-] 1 points by cooperbl (-88) 11 years ago

why should it be in a museum? what's your problem with private ownership of a painting ?

[-] 1 points by proudofOKC (361) 11 years ago

To be honest I think it would be great if I could one day take my children to see that painting, meaning it would be in a museum.

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 11 years ago

How many people can $80 million feed?

Now tell me how many people a panel with some oil on it feeds?

[-] 1 points by Kraus (19) 11 years ago

It fed Edvard Munch didn't it?







[-] 0 points by DowntownResident2 (1) 11 years ago

The OWS movement again appears to fail at targeting the right institutions. This simply represents a protest of envy and nothing else. When are you going to protest against the politicians in Washington versus against corporations.

[-] 3 points by proudofOKC (361) 11 years ago

I'm pretty sure OWS is against corrupt politicians as well, so I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make.

[-] 2 points by DowntownResident2 (1) 11 years ago

That the politicians should be the primary focus instead of several random organizations from banks to art dealers.

Expose amounts taken from lobbyist, voting record and attendance in congress / senate etc, bills sponsored which they have personally benefited from. For example the fact that insider trading is not illegal for members in congress and senate, but it is for all other members of society.

The idea cannot be for OWS to be against everything, which is pretty much the message that the general public is currently getting.

[-] 1 points by proudofOKC (361) 11 years ago

I agree with you that if it looks like OWS is against everything then that is a bad thing, though no matter what we do it will be difficult to receive "good press" from the mass media.

Getting the money out of politics is absolutely a part of the many ideas playing into OWS. From what I can see, OWS is about a number of ideas, and so actions will go in different ways, but there is an underlying theme of profit corrupting our society and making it more and more difficult for the regular person to get by and for democratic values to continue.



[-] -1 points by JPMcMahon (18) 11 years ago

If there weren't paintings that sold for 80 million. or antiques (which are just furniture after all), or "collectibles" which are only valuable because of the wondrous, special people that owned them, then there wouldn't be a Sotheby's and none of the jobs that exist there now, or before. would have ever existed. And if it weren't for the rich people who treasure, appreciate, and can afford to buy those things, then there wouldn't be museums either. Many, if not most of the paintings that you see in public museums were loaned or DONATED by the very people that you are pillorying here! Read the little cards below the paintings, I'm not rich by any standard, but I have a modest collection of art by people that I have known personally that I treasure. I don't have a right to hang it where I like in my apartment? If a piece I owned were to appreciate in value, and I sold it, I wouldn't have the right to enjoy the profit? The 99% don't drive the art market folks. Without the 1% there wouldn't be one, and we could all enjoy our Thomas Kinkade prints.


[-] -1 points by cooperbl (-88) 11 years ago

Great reply. The rich not only donate works to museums, they create them. The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Opera, The Frick, The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).