Pace Gallery recently combined a release of NFTs by Lucas Samaras with an announcement of a partnership with Palm NFT Studios. Now, with multiple NFT releases under its belt, Pace is going all in with a bespoke NFT platform and the appointment of Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle as online sales director. Boyle responded to questions about Pace’s entry into NFT Land as well as its long-term commitment to the space.
As part of its Convergent Evolutions: In Focus show, Pace Gallery released two NFTs on September 15th by Lucas Samaras, an artist well known for his trailblazing work from the late 1950s to today. Much of this work has included exploring new technologies from his Polaroid manipulations of the late 60s and 70s to his growing body of digital art. The two NFTs, XYZ 0879 (Chinoiserie) and XYZ 0862 (Chinoiserie), shown above, were available for purchase on KnownOrigin, where each sold for 3.3 ETH.
In a September 15th announcement, Pace revealed that its next major move in this direction is a partnership with Palm NFT Studio to create a bespoke NFT platform that will debut this fall. Palm also discussed this partnership and the planned platform in a blog post.
Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle on Pace and NFTs
I interviewed Pace’s first online sales director, the recently appointed Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle, who was profiled in ARTnews in April. Boyle is known for such accomplishments as curating Black Femme: Sovereign of WAP and the Virtual Realm at New York’s CANADA gallery. She also began coding during the pandemic and helped create an online sales platform for CANADA. Though relatively early in her career, she combines elements that make her ideal for her new position at Pace in New York.
I began a series of emailed questions by asking if Pace’s decision to get into NFTs came about because of artist interest. She responded:
“Yes, an artist’s first approach has always been at the core of Pace’s ethos and strategy. The idea to venture into NFTs was inspired by a desire to provide an opportunity for our artists to extend beyond the confines of the white cube.”
“I’d also say it was a natural evolution for Pace since the gallery has always been an institution that has prided itself as being at the forefront of art and technology. We’ve never shied away from changes within both worlds and pioneered forward in both respects.”
I asked about Pace’s commitment to NFTs and whether or not Pace saw their early forays as short-term experiments or long-term developments:
“Early on in our exploration of NFTs, we wanted to ensure we took our time assessing the market and becoming familiar with the community by strategically taking on NFT projects we felt would help us make further strides around integration within the community. And, as we move further along, we’re beginning to feel more settled within this venture. We do not take this foray lightly and do see it finding a place within our gallery’s ecosystem long-term.”
“We’re certainly hyper-conscious of the market conditions since this is a major part of our role as an institution, but that is in no way the main driving force behind our ventures. As long as the community continues to provide advantageous benefits to our artists, we will continue to see this foray through for however long that may be.”
“Our latest drop of Lucas Samaras XYZ NFTs is the perfect example of our commitment to long-term involvement as we’ve given owners of both NFT’s whitelist status for the next Lucas Samaras drop on our dedicated NFT platform. We also are consistently seeking out opportunities to collaborate with other platforms and artists already present within the crypto market.”
Pace’s NFT drops to date have been on multiple NFT platforms. I wondered if Pace was getting a lot of outreach from such companies:
“Definitely, and we’ve been very open to hearing every pitch. It was incredibly important that we do our research and really hone in on what would be the best fit for our artists and the gallery.
A main focus of our NFT strategy has been to forge links with the wider NFT community, so we have worked with several platforms in these early stages. And although we are entering a partnership with Palm to build our own NFT platform, we anticipate further collaborations with other platforms in the future, depending on the right solution for any given artist or project.”
I also wondered how Pace connected with Palm and what sold Pace on its solution:
“We actually reached out to Palm and got in touch directly with the CEO. What sold us was Palm’s understanding of our unique placement within this venture, and also their immediate ability to advise and support us venturing correctly. The platform buildout was an immediate focus for their team, with the acknowledgement that it was the only way to proceed.
We definitely see Palm’s environmentally conscious framing as a huge selling point for our partnership, but even more attractive is their innovative approach to this collaboration with the buildout of our platform.”
Boyle also confirmed that Palm’s involvement with the highly successful physical art/NFT release by Damien Hirst, The Currency, served as a “great proof of concept” in evaluating Palm.
Pace Gallery Takes the Long View
Pace Gallery’s long-term commitment to NFTs seems clear as does that of Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle. Given Pace’s focus on the needs of its artists and its history with art and technology, NFT Land can look forward to Pace playing a positive role in the space.
Featured Image Courtesy Pace Gallery from Convergent Evolutions: In Focus
Lucas Samaras, XYZ 0879 (Chinoiserie), 2012/2021
Lucas Samaras, XYZ 0862 (Chinoiserie), 2012/2021