Lisa Layfer


How long have you worked in your current job?

I’ve been at Christie’s for just over three years.  I started as a Bid Clerk, then became an Administrator in the Prints and Multiples Department, and am now in Post-War and Contemporary, where I work directly with Brett Gorvy, a Deputy Chairman, and International Co-Head of the department.

What do you like most about your job?
The art, the people and the pace.
What would you change about the art world?
I would change the impression of exclusivity, particularly when it comes to auction houses. Most individuals do not realize that Christie’s is an open forum for viewing and handling works of art.  It’s a place where you can tour a thoughtfully curated sale exhibition and have the opportunity to engage in a one-on-one question and answer session with specialists on-hand, who are eager to share their knowledge.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I try to keep up-to-date on current shows and exhibitions at local museums and galleries.  I enjoy reading, exploring NYC, traveling and spending time with friends.  I also try and take some fun classes every now and then.  I studied printmaking a short while ago and recently enrolled in an introductory French course.
What is the most inspiring part about living and working in your city?
New York has such a great mix of cultural venues.  I often commute to work via Fifth Avenue, and it is always exciting to see the integration of art in the windows at Saks.  They’ve incorporated costumes from the Metropolitan Opera, Audubon prints and recently staged a tribute to the Wizard of Oz in collaboration with Swarovski.  The windows are wonderful mini installations combining theater, design, art and fashion.
How is the art world changing right now?
The access to information. Museum collections, auction catalogues, gallery inventories – all are just a click away.   We keep finding new ways to incorporate the internet as a business tool and teaching mechanism.   
If you could own any piece of art, what would it be?
Just one? Last season, I really enjoyed a Yayoi Kusama that Christie’s sold in November, No 2, 1959.  It was an early piece from her Infinity Net series, entirely covered with densely packed white dots that from a certain vantage point took on the effect of a simulated lizard skin.

What current cultural phenomenon interests you most?
I’m fascinated by the rise of reality television, and completely hooked. It is interesting how they can make the banality of everyday life so mesmerizing.  In the context of this discussion, you could say that I have a Koons-like fascination with it. The ability to isolate and elevate the familiar to an unfamiliar and engaging status — captures my attention every time.