Mon-Fri, 9am-5:30pm; Sat-Sun, hours vary
B, D, F, M at 47th-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center
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Beating out its archrival Sotheby's expansion by a few years, Christie's opened its new 300,000-square foot facility at Rockefeller Center in 1998. Years of fierce one-upmanship basically brought the two houses to parity in terms of profits and curatorial focus, but Christie's maintains a slightly more patrician air—thanks to a history of dealing with the estates of the English aristocracy since the 1700s, and the fact that Sotheby's only became a serious competitor at the start of the 20th century. Christie's flagship location is open to all, though the stark double-height atrium decorated with a monumental Sol LeWitt mural doesn’t make this readily apparent. The main lobby, through a small passageway, is much more welcoming. To the left, visitors will find expansive and well-lit first-floor galleries. A grand staircase leads up to the private viewing rooms and two auction halls which are converted into one exhibition space when a particularly large show calls for it. Items to be sold are displayed for one week prior to an auction, so you'll need to keep track of your calendar if you want to see that masterpiece before it ends up above someone’s sofa. Apart from ticketed evening auctions featuring high-profile lots, Christie's sales are free to the public—you don't need to bid to watch the action. If you do plan to purchase something, you must pre-register by phone or in person.Christie's Education
Christie's offers degree programs in modern art, connoisseurship, and the history of the art market. There are also non-degree classes and public lectures. Call 212-355-1501 for information.