Karlie Kloss Curates at Sotheby’s: A Fashion Invasion or a Fresh Perspective?
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Karlie Kloss Curates at Sotheby’s: A Fashion Invasion or a Fresh Perspective?

February 20, 2024 Share

Karlie Kloss’s Sotheby’s curation sparks debate: a fresh take or a fame-driven dilution of art’s sanctity? The art world watches.

In an audacious blend of high fashion and high art, supermodel Karlie Kloss has stormed the gates of Sotheby’s, wielding her guest curator gavel for the upcoming “Contemporary Curated” auction. Set for March 1, this spectacle features nine works by female artists, personally selected by Kloss from a staggering pool of over 300. The move is timed to coincide with Women’s History Month, with Kloss’s picks poised to rake in an eye-watering US$2.3 million to US$3.4 million.

But here’s where the plot thickens: Kloss’s foray into the art world isn’t sitting well with art purists. With a resume that’s more runway than gallery walk, her pivot to art curation has sparked a fiery debate. Is this an innovative crossover or a controversial dilution of art’s sacred principles?

Kloss, with her enviable contacts book and a social media following that rivals small nations, brings an undeniable clout to Sotheby’s. Yet, her selection has ignited a powder keg of dissent among art professionals. The bone of contention? A perceived sidelining of expertise in favor of celebrity sparkle. Critics argue that Kloss’s appointment is emblematic of a worrying trend where fame trumps scholarship, and the deep, often complex world of art curation is reduced to a playground for the glitterati.

The works up for auction—a vibrant mix of abstract, digital, and generative art—are not in question. After all, a Yayoi Kusama going under the hammer is always cause for excitement. But the choice of Kloss as the orchestrator of this high-stakes symphony has led some to wonder: Are we witnessing the commodification of art curation, packaged neatly with a supermodel bow?

Image courtesy of Variety

This isn’t just about Kloss’s credentials—or perceived lack thereof. It’s a larger critique of a culture that increasingly places celebrity at the helm of areas once reserved for the academically or professionally vetted. The fear? That art curation could devolve into yet another realm conquered by the cult of personality, where followers matter more than formal study, and the spotlight shifts from the art itself to the celebrity du jour.

Supporters of Kloss’s appointment may argue that her fresh eyes bring a new dimension to the age-old practice of curation, democratizing art and making it accessible to the masses. They point to her philanthropic efforts and her advocacy for women in tech as evidence of a deep-seated commitment to empowering underrepresented voices—a mission that aligns with the auction’s focus on female artists.

Yet, the uproar from the art community signals a deeper unrest, a fear of losing the sanctity of art curation to the shiny allure of fame. The question at the heart of this uproar is not whether Kloss can distinguish a Kusama from a Koons, but whether her celebrity status overshadows the meritocratic principles that many believe should guide the world of art curation.

As the auction date draws near, the art world watches with bated breath—not just for the fate of the artworks on sale but for the implications of this bold experiment. Will Kloss’s stint as guest curator be remembered as a fleeting gimmick or as a groundbreaking shift in how art is presented and perceived?

Regardless of where you stand on this fiery debate, one thing is clear: The intersection of fashion, fame, and fine art has never been more provocative, nor more polarizing. As Kloss takes the stage at Sotheby’s, she’s not just selling art; she’s challenging the very foundations of art curation itself. And whether you applaud her for breaking barriers or accuse her of trespassing sacred ground, you can’t deny the conversation she’s sparked is as vibrant and varied as the artworks she’s chosen to spotlight.

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Author: Laura Scalco
fine art
Karlie Kloss