the rhythm gallery, a leading contemporary art gallery, has hired a new legal director as it expands its digital offerings. The gallery, which has outposts around the world, hired Halie Klein for the role. Prior to accepting the new position, Ms Klein was an attorney at the Willkie Farr & Gallagher law firm in New York.
While a lawyer in private practice, Ms. Klein advised the Pace Gallery as a client. She was part of the legal team advising Pace Gallery on their joint venture to sell the art collection of financier Donald Marron. When he died in 2020, his extensive collection was valued at over $300 million. The law firm was asked to represent the estate of Donald Marron in the sale of the coins. This project gave her exposure at the Pace Gallery on the client side and ultimately helped her land the role of General Counsel.
Klein joins as gallery expands into digital art and NFT realm
“His move comes amid Pace’s plans to expand into the realm of digital art and non-fungible tokens, or NFT, with several projects underway in this space,” said Pace Gallery CEO Marc Glimcher. Glimcher has a long career as a dealer and is considered a leading player on the international art scene.
Under Glimcher’s guidance, Pace Gallery accepts payment for all digital and physical artwork in cryptocurrencies. “I am a crypto person. I’ve had the crypto for a while,” Glimcher commented.
Although based in New York, Pace Gallery maintains global operations. It has eight locations worldwide: New York, London, Hong Kong, Palo Alto, Seoul, Geneva, East Hampton and Palm Beach.
The Pace Gallery is a modern and contemporary art gallery representing over 70 artists and estates. Founded in 1960 by Arne Glimcher, father of current CEO Marc Glimcher, the gallery has built an international reputation. In addition, he has had decades-long relationships with artists such as Mark Rothko, Barbara Hepworth and Alexander Calder.
Record digital art sales could reshape business
Leading art galleries and artists consider digital art and NFT to be a transformative force that could reshape the art industry. As a result, traditional players in the art world intend to stay at the forefront of the latest developments.
The world’s leading auction houses posted record sales in 2021. Christie’s recorded sales of $7.1 billion. Sotheby’s, rival of the auction house Christie’s, achieved a turnover of 7.3 billion dollars. Sotheby’s noted that 2021 was its strongest sales year in its 277-year history. Meanwhile, small auction house Philips had a bumper year, recording sales of $1.2 billion.
“Our clients are not agnostic to the broader economic context, but they are driven by passion and they now know that we can operate well in uncertainty,” said Guillaume Cerutti, CEO of Christie’s. “Higher inflation also helps us because it makes people want things like art that won’t lose value. This makes our market resilient.
NFTs have captured a notable share of high-end sales, although they started to catch mainstream attention recently, in early 2021. The craze was sparked by Christie’s sale of the art collage digital from artist Beeple as NFT for $69 million.
NFT sales accounted for $150 million, or 8% of contemporary art sales in 2021. Philips noted that it found buyers for every NFT it put up for sale, and many sales were in the millions. Sotheby’s closed its first NFT sale for $16 million in April 2021 using Clever gateway, an online auction platform for NFTs. In October, Sotheby’s launched its own NFT marketplace called Sotheby’s Metavers.
Several prominent art galleries are hoping to obtain NFTs for their collections, including Pace Gallery, Acquavella Galleries and Gagosian Gallery. In August 2021, New York-based Acquavella Galleries made a major investment in the NFT MakersPlace platform.
Private collectors seek to showcase NFT art purchases
Many private art collectors intend to display their NFT art purchases on wall-sized LED screens in their homes. Collectors who have spent millions buying digital art are hoping to find ways to show them off beyond small phone screens. Many explore creative frameworks. For example, based in New York Infinite Items builds screens that enclose NFT art in box-like structures. These frames surround screens that project NFT art videos.
Wide range of legal topics for the new General Counsel
In her new role, Ms. Klein will need to keep abreast of the latest legal developments related to NFT. This nascent legal field touches on many intellectual property issues related to copyright and licensing. As General Counsel for an international art gallery, she will deal with a wide range of legal topics, including trusts and estates law, business law, litigation, real estate law and antitrust regulations. – money laundering.