Jul 20, 2016

Interview of the Month with Noah Kupferman, Director at Christie's Education

The Clarion List continues our series of interviews with leading art service providers. Whether you are learning about these companies for the first time or are already familiar with their services, we hope this series helps shed insight into each’s distinct niche and make the art services market in general more transparent.

This month we discussed the intersection of education and the business of art with with Noah Kupferman, Director at Christie's Education. Founded in 1978, Christie's Education provides both degree and non-degree courses about art history, connoisseurship and the art market. 


1. What is the new Art Law and Business program at Christie's Education?

The MA in Art, Law and Business provides training for its students combining in-depth academic coursework alongside hands-on practical training and workshops. The curriculum is designed specifically for those interested in developing or furthering a career in the business of art. Emphasizing practice over theory, the program introduces students to the foundational tools, skills and concepts of art, law and business that are crucial prerequisites for anyone wishing to work in the current global art marketplace.

2. What courses are part of the curriculum?

The core pedagogical strategy of the Christie’s Education Art, Law and Business Program is based on the premise that utilizing the lens of commerce and law to view art and the art market will serve to enhance our understanding of how the global art market functions. Through this non-traditional approach to the study and examination of art and art markets, students will develop insight into the dynamics that influence the markets.

There are 3 core areas of our curriculum: art history, art business and art law. Our program goal is the training of students across the three disciplines of art, law and business resulting in graduates who are equally conversant in art and in commerce and who, therefore, will have the necessary transferable skills to make a smooth professional transition into the global art world.

3. Tell us about your background and how your built your program.

I began my career at Sotheby’s where I trained as a Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy specialist. After several years, I traded it all in to go back to business school for an MBA and where I worked in corporate and private banking for 12 years before returning to the art world at Christie’s in 2012. At Christie’s, I was Co-Head of Chinese Works of Art and then Head of Christie’s Secured Art Lending Program in New York. In January of this year, Christie’s offered me the role to become the Program Director of the MA Program in Art Law and Business.

Our program is unique in the market. We built our program from the perspective of hiring managers inside the art world. So, in a sense, we reverse engineered the educational process. What this means, effectively, is that the overall curriculum and syllabi of each and every course has been created from a very practical place. The goal of the program is equally to provide best in class education and provide students the necessary tools to find art world employment upon graduation.

4. Why is this program so unique?

Our program is the only graduate-level program in the world run by an auction house. We are part and parcel of Christie’s which, as you well know, is the world’s leading art business.

Our close relationship with our Christie’s colleagues sets us apart from any other MA program in the art world. In August, we will be moving into our new location at Rockefeller Center just an elevator ride away from our Christie’s colleagues and Christie’s global flagship exhibition space. We have Christie’s colleagues on faculty and we have built into our curriculum weekly visits and gallery walk-throughs with Christie’s specialists.

5. What type of students are interested in this program and what career goals do they have?

Students interested in working on the business side of the art world should be interested in our program. Our applicant pool is generally made up of students who recently graduated from their undergraduate universities as well as career changers who are interested in making a shift into an art world career.

Our program is designed to prepare students to land in many different areas of the art world ecosystem. Of course, this includes the standard areas of art auction, galleries and museums but our scope is far beyond these standard areas. Graduates of Christie’s land in businesses as diversified as art fairs, art insurance firms, art consultancies, and art logistics firms just to name a few areas.

6. How do students apply?

Everything is online on our website: http://www.christies.edu/ And, for additional specific questions I would invite any interested students to contact us directly.


7. What do you like about The Clarion List?

The Clarion List is a great idea that is a very long time coming. I think that you provide a very important service to those of us working on the business side of the art market. Finally, there is a place where any of us can go to get a sense or a listing of the many players and many moving parts of the art world landscape. So, on behalf of the art world I thank you so much for providing your excellent and worthwhile services.