Leyla Fakhr is currently Artistic Director at Verse. After working at the Tate for 8 years, she operated as an independent curator and producer across various projects internationally.
Leyla Fakhr is currently Artistic Director at Verse. After working at the Tate for 8 years, she operated as an independent curator and producer across various projects internationally. Most notably, she was the producer of the documentary "Monir", a film on the life and work of the artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, screened at Guggenheim, NYC (2015).
During her time at Tate she was part of the acquisition team at Tate Britain and Tate Modern. She was a key member in contributing to the first series of acquisitions for the MENAC (Middle East and North Africa Committee), including the works of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. While at Tate, she also worked on a number of collection displays, including: John Akomfrah, "The Unfinished Conversation," and "Migrations: Journeys into British Art".
She was curator at Green Cardamom (2006-2009), where she worked on numerous exhibitions with artists predominantly from South Asia and the Middle East. She received her MA in Creative Curating at Goldsmith University (2006). In 2009, she was the recipient of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize with the artist Nazgol Ansarinia, and in 2006 she was awarded the International Curators Invitational from the Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris. She was also the editor of the monograph on artist Reza Aramesh (2018-19).
Do you have a job title for your role in NFTs, Web3, and Crypto Art? If not, what is an approximation or newly invented title that sums up what you do?
How would you describe what you do to a friend who isn't in this world?
As part of a brilliant team, I run a digital art platform.
Are you associated with an organization, company, gallery etc?
NFT Magazine has teamed up with the Crypto Mermaids: https://www.gretchenandrew.com/crypto-mermaids to help more people understand and celebrate cryptoart. We find there is often a technical or cultural barrier to more people appreciating work in this space. What do you wish more people understood about NFTs, crypto art, or Web3 that would also help greate work be properly celebrated?
That it is about the art, whether on or off the blockchain.
What have you done in Web3, NFTs, or Cryptoart that you are most proud of and excited to share with our readers?
I am genuinely excited about the launch of Verse Solos this month, featuring the artist duo Andreas Gysin and Sidi Vanetti. Verse Solos provide an in-depth overview into an artists’ practice. It's like experiencing a condensed retrospective that aims to capture the essence of their work, even though the term sounds completely extravagant!
Verse Solos will be looking at artists whose work has been integral to the digital space. Through this initiative, we hope to foster a deeper appreciation for the diverse voices that shape the digital art community. It is our commitment to providing a dedicated space that not only showcases artwork, but also nurtures understanding and respect for the multitude of artistic expressions.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on "Materialized", the Verse Solos exhibition featuring the artist duo Andreas Gysin and Sidi Vanetti. Within their practice, Gysin and Vanetti incorporate industrial and urban signage, as well as familiar objects like digital or split-flap displays. Their work explores the potential of the computer as a medium, resulting in a body of work that is inherently digital.
For "Materialized" the artists have collaborated on several physical and digital works, including a long-form generative piece entitled 256. Gysin & Vanetti's work is held in several institutions, including Haus für Elektronische Künste (HEK) in Basel, the Museum für Gestaltung in Zürich, Collezione Banca Stato in Ticino, Collezione Repubblica e Cantone Ticino, and Fondazione Lindenberg in Porza and Comune e città di Lugano.
How and when did you get into NFTs?
I previously worked at a museum and then worked freelance as a curator for galleries and organisations. I started to wonder how much reach these exhibitions actually have and became curious about digital artists who had amassed huge communities. It really made me wonder how we absorb culture these days - is it really through museums or our laptops and phones? When I met Verse, it was a no-brainer to join an amazing team.
How have your views on NFTs evolved since?
I am still fine-tuning my understanding within the field. I am also defining my own taste and understanding within a quite broad realm. There are many artists I wasn't aware of before I joined the space. It is incredible how divided the art world can be from other artistic practices. I am finding that artists want to find a way to allow their careers to grow. I think everyone knows that the gold rush is over and that it is now time to become serious about your practice.
What are your views on "the traditional art world" and how do you relate to it, or not?
Coming from the "the traditional art world" I really do relate to it and value a lot about it. It has shaped my understanding of contemporary art, and it has been my focus for the past two decades. Though it has, of course, many drawbacks and we are totally generalising. Altogether, I still try to go to exhibitions as much as I can. Oh, and I am co-curating quite a big show that me and my co-curator have been working on for several years. More details coming soon!
What are you doing to endure crypto winter?
I am really taking the time to look at more art and deepen my research. Honestly, it has never been busier.
We are a new magazine, give us some advice on how to get great work understood and celebrated.
I personally love artist interviews. But I also love your style, so I just look forward to how you are bringing it all together.
What is an NFT you love and why do you love it?
I can't answer that. It would be like saying, "Which one of my kids do I love more"?
Discover the project MindDrawPlay by George Mobius.
"I wish more people understood Web3 = ownership and community."