There are so many directions that working in the art world can lead you. Advisory, curating and PR, to name just a few. But perhaps one of the most important aspects of working with art is one that isn’t often on the front pages of our glossy art world magazines: art law. But actually, when you think about it, the law is a very important part of our industry. And, while the field of art and cultural law is highly specialised, it is also incredibly important.
Whether you’re a gallerist or a curator, we’re pretty sure you would have negotiated a contract at some point. But beyond the obvious, have you realised that every time an artwork is shipped, there are regulations there need to be complied with? Art lawyers also deal with a number of aspects within the art world, from intellectual property and copyright, to restitution and legacy planning. Art lawyers also deal with protecting cultural heritage, advise on anti-money laundering regulations and help with art fraud, and that’s just some of the areas in which they work. So, we thought we’d introduce you to ten trailblazing women working in art law.
Yayoi Shionoiri serves as Executive Director to the Estate of Chris Burden and the Studio of Nancy Rubins, where she is responsible for stewarding Burden’s art historical legacy and promoting Rubins’ artistic practice. She also serves as U.S. Alliance Partner to City Lights Law, a Japanese law firm that represents creators, innovators, and artists, and as an Outside Board Director to Startbahn, an art technology company that is attempting to bring greater reliability to transactions in the art ecosystem. As a published specialist on art law, she is respected for her application of intellectual property law to art issues. In the past, Yayoi has served as General Counsel and Head of Asia Strategy to Artsy, Associate General Counsel of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and Legal Advisor to Takashi Murakami. She has degrees from Harvard University, Cornell Law School and Columbia University. As an US-Japan Leadership Program Fellow and an Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader, she actively contributes to the ongoing development of cultural collaborations and political ties across nations. She serves as Vice-Chair to the board of Recess Art, and an Advisory Panelist to the Serpentine Gallery’s Legal Lab.
Lisette Aguilar is a partner at London’s Keystone Law and spent 12 years as a senior in-house lawyer at Sotheby’s, where she worked on some of the most high-profile cases in the art world, including a case concerning the attribution of a copy of a work by Caravaggio. Her professional background at one of the major auction houses has given her extensive experience of handling issues of authenticity and attribution, provenance and ownership, World War II restitution and cultural property claims (among others) on a daily basis, as well as an impressive array of contacts within the heart of the art world. Lisette also advises on contracts relating to the purchase and sale of high-value art, from Old Masters to Modern and Contemporary works, at auction and privately, on behalf of both collectors and dealers. Her reputation in the art world led to her portrait being taken by Dutch photographer Carla van de Puttelaar and included in her book “Artfully Dressed: Women in the Art World”, being the only practising art lawyer to be included.
Katie Wilson-Milne is a partner at the New York boutique law firm Schindler, Cohen and Hochman LLP, where she advises clients in the art, cultural and creative communities, including art galleries, collectors, artists, and not-for-profit corporations on transactional matters related to the creation, purchase, sale, lending and financing of art, as well as gallery, auction house, and museum relationships. She also represents art clients in disputes involving artist representation, collaborations, contracts, copyright, authenticity, title, value and provenance. As part of her art law practice, Katie also provides general counsel services and a wide range of governance advice to her clients. She is an active member of the New York arts community and teaches and speaks regularly on art law related topics. She is also the co-host of the popular Art Law Podcast.
Alana Kushnir is an art lawyer and curator. She is the Director and Founder of Guest Work Agency, an art law and advisory firm based in Melbourne, Australia, but international in reach. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Serpentine Galleries’ R&D Platform Legal Lab, which explores how the law can better support collaborations across art, science and technology, and a sessional lecturer at The University of Melbourne, teaching subjects on curating, contemporary art and art law. She holds a Masters of Fine Art (Curating) from Goldsmiths, University of London, a Bachelor of Arts (Art History) (Hons) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from The University of Melbourne.
Angela Saltarelli is an attorney, mediator and arbitrator focused on art law, cultural heritage, copyright, and intellectual property law. She is a frequent speaker in national and international conferences and has published extensively on issues related to art law and business, including law reviews, art magazines and international art law blogs. She is currently teaching lessons in postgraduate and graduate courses on Art Law, Copyright and Cultural Heritage and she is author of many articles including in La Propriedad Inmaterial law review and co-author of the Italian book chapter of “The Art Collecting Legal Handbook” published by Thomson Reuters. She was appointed as Arbitrator in January 2020 in the Arbitration and Mediation pools of the international Court of Arbitration for Art (CAfA) based in Rotterdam.
Amelia K. Brankov
Amelia K. Brankov is an art attorney practicing in New York. She advises galleries, collectors, artist studios, artist estates and foundations, curators, art advisors, appraisers, and conservators. She represents clients in disputes concerning the title, authenticity, and copyright interests of artwork, as well as business disputes among various players in the art world. She assists clients in all legal aspects of transactions involving artwork including purchase agreements, consignment agreements, and loan agreements. She is the Chair of the Art, Antiques & Auctions Advisory Board of Trusts & Estates magazine, the Co-Chair of the New York County Lawyers Association’s Art Law Committee, and is the Chair of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Rebecca Fine has been the General Counsel of Athena Art Finance – a leading, independent finance company specializing in asset-based lending secured by high value fine art – since its founding in 2015. For more than 20 years, she has provided legal and business advice to art collectors, galleries, dealers, and financial services clients. Fluent in French and Italian, Rebecca has extensive cross-border transactional and litigation experience, and has acted as liaison counsel to corporations and ultra-high net worth individuals in many in foreign (multinational) jurisdictions. A recognized speaker on the topics of art law, finance and business, Rebecca has lectured widely to various professional and academic audiences, including Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Christie’s Education, and Cardozo Law School’s Fashion Arts Media Entertainment Law Center. She sits on the Board of Creative Art Works, a nonprofit that empowers young people in New York City through the visual and multimedia arts.
Marie Potel-Saville is the founder and CEO of Amurabi, a legal innovation by design agency. Marie combines more than 15 years experience working in Magic Circle firms and as a General Counsel, with a Master’s degree in Innovation by Design at ENSCI. She wakes up in the morning to create user-centric, actionable and engaging legal documents. She also teaches legal innovation by design at Singapore Management University, Sciences Po Paris and Assas University, and is involved in pro bono initiatives for access to justice. In the art field, Marie is working with the Serpentine Legal Lab, and her agency also works with a major art gallery in Hong Kong with a learning experience for novice buyers during art fairs. Marie is convinced that user-centricity can bring a lot of value to art institutions by empowering users and in particular artists to take control of their rights
Azmina Jasani is a Partner in the Art & Cultural Property Law Group of Constantine Cannon LLP and a leading art law and luxury assets specialist. She has dual qualifications and experience in New York and London, and is sought-after by the full spectrum of global industry stakeholders, including artists, museums, collectors, sovereigns, galleries, dealers, auction houses and financial institutions for advice on contentious and non-contentious matters. Azmina represents clients in disputes involving issues of authenticity, provenance, title, copyright and looted or illegally exported cultural property as well as on structuring and negotiating high-value cross-border transactions involving important works of art. She is often instructed by art and luxury businesses to help them comply with regulations pertaining to anti-money laundering, consumer protection, import and export etc. Azmina lectures at the Institute of Art & Law, Queen Mary School of Law, Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is committed to enhancing and empowering diverse voices within the art market and uses her platform to support pertinent initiatives.
Kathleen ‘Kat’ Kim is a lawyer working with LIWU Law Group, a Seoul and Asia based global law firm, specialising in the field of Arts and Cultural Law, including intellectual property and transactions in the art market. She is also Adjunct Professor at Hongik University on the MBA course for Arts and Cultural Management, teaching arts and entertainment law. Kat is the author of a book called Art Law, which was published in 2013 and an Art Law Columnist at Monthly Art. Kat is on the advisory panel at the Serpentine Gallery’s R&D Legal Lab, is on the Arts and Cultural Policy Advisory panel for the Seoul City Government, and is an auditor at the Korean Society of Arts and Cultural Management. In addition, she is qualified as an attorney in New York and was selected as 2020 Young Power 11 in Art in Culture magazine.
Text Lizzy Vartanian