Undoubtedly, the NFT revolution is bringing about a paradigm shift in the art world. With art institutions and artists learning more about art NFTs, there is a push-and-pull between artists gaining more power and institutions trying to catch up with this new technology. To understand this paradigm shift a bit better, NFTevening sat down with LAL ART Advisory’s Fanny Lakoubay at NFC Lisbon.
Who is Fanny Lakoubay?
Fanny Lakoubay is a French-born, New York-based digital art advisor with more than 14 years of experience at the intersection of art, tech and finance. She is currently the founder and senior advisor at LAL ART Advisory. Additionally, Fanny is involved in many NFT communities and is also an Adjunct Teacher at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Therefore, it is safe to say that she knows a thing or two about art and tech.
“I used to work in what now people call art and tech, which was not called that at the time. I worked for eight years for Artnet and then worked for a very small software company that was acquired by Christie’s,” recalls Fanny. A reshuffling at Christie’s was the catalyst that led Fanny to branch out on her own. Coincidentally, it was the time when crypto and blockchain began to become mainstream.
Fanny explains that blockchain was used primarily to create blockchain-based registries for physical paintings. She was one of the first to recognize that the blockchain can be more important to the art market than meets the eye.
As a result, Fanny started organizing panels and small conferences about this new technology with the New Art Academy around 2018. This venture quickly gained steam. “We then did the first crypto and digital art fair. It was 2019 and it was really just the idea of being able to display digital art properly,” she says.
At the same time, she started advising and consulting for NFT platforms. Fast forward a few years, and Fanny used her experience to form LAL ART Advisory, which advises collectors, artists and companies on art NFTs and the crypto art space.
A paradigm shift brought about by art NFTs
It’s safe to say that, being a (very) early adopter, Fanny Lakoubay has witnessed all phases of the NFT revolution – including traditional galleries’ reluctance to get involved in the sphere.
“Last year, in December, at Art Basel Miami, when I was talking to galleries, they were like, “Oh, I’m never gonna do NFTs because they’re ugly collectibles”,” says Fanny. According to her, “this is a big misunderstanding” of how art NFTs can be utilised.
This all changed early this year. “Now they’re getting around to it. We’ve seen the auction houses get there first, like obviously, it’s very opportunistic to make money, but it’s already one step forward that the mega galleries are getting involved.”
According to Fanny, this left many artists and smaller galleries questioning – “what’s in it for us”? She explains that many artists were left alone to experiment due to the reluctance of galleries to get involved.
“But it’s also like, artists, they don’t want to be the Chief Technology Officer or the chief marketing officer or the chief community officer or the Chief Social Media Manager,” insists Fanny. “There’s no blueprint. We might see shifts in business models in galleries. Artists might not need the same thing as they used to need or want to pay 40% [as commission].”
Changing the way art is displayed
Fanny also mentions that art institutions need to reconfigure the way they think about presenting art, in particular, digital art. “It’s easy to just sell NFTs as another category, right? Like, you have sculptures, prints and then you have [art] NFTs.” However, according to Fanny, “that’s not really interesting.”
What she proposes is a change in mindset and an opportunity to use art NFTs as an excuse for innovation. “The interesting thing is that, for me, the PFPs have shown new mechanisms, new sales mechanisms and new [ways of] minting, and these new ways to sell. Now, artists have been able to use that for their art,” she asserts.
Fanny, therefore, insists that art institutions should learn all about these new mechanisms to really help artists make a splash. This is because artists have “experimented but at their own expense.” “Artists have questions like how do I even decide on the price? How many pieces should I mint and which platform should I use? And it’s like, how do you make the learning curve? More efficient, right?” she adds.
Two potential futures for art NFTs
Learning how to help artists navigate this whole new sphere should be the top priority of art institutions. Fanny sums it up perfectly: “There are two potential futures right now: where you just sell [art] NFTs as a category, and then nothing changes. Still the same, except now you also have to learn this very complex technology, which is an unnecessary workload. Or you can make use of web3 technology to make things better, such as using artist DAOs.”
Undoubtedly, people like Fanny are pushing for the second pathway. After all, web3 has the power to truly empower and amplify artists’ messages; and bring about a true paradigm shift in the art world.