How Masterworks evolved from virtual investments to real-world art encounters

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How Masterworks evolved from virtual investments to real-world art encounters

The traditional channels for selling fine art, dominated for decades by established galleries and auction houses, underwent significant disruption in recent years as fractional investing, a new model for art acquisition, has emerged. Spearheaded by the Masterworks app, which launched in 2017, fractionalized art investments have been breaking down the barriers to entry for art lovers across the globe.

While the Masterworks investment platform took what was once an in-person-only experience and made it available to digital and remote audiences, the company’s latest announcement flips the script once again, allowing prospective buyers to book appointments whereby they can view blue-chip works in real life.

With the launch of the Level & Co. gallery in New York under the leadership of Masterworks Executive Vice President Evan Beard, the company has added another feather to its cap, bringing the buyer’s experience full circle.

Launching a real-world Masterworks presence
In a move as bold as a Picasso and as calculated as a Vermeer, Evan Beard recently unveiled Level & Co. This new art gallery subsidiary, housed in an exquisite townhouse in the Upper East Side, adds a fresh stroke of color to the heart of New York City. The gallery's name is a thoughtful nod to Andre Level, a French investor, and financier renowned for launching the world's first art investment pool or syndicate, named "The Skin of the Bear."

This collective made waves in the art world with its acquisition and sale of remarkable masterpieces, a legacy that Masterworks proudly carries forward. Thus, the homage to Level is not just a tribute, but a testament to Masterworks' commitment to pioneering in the realm of art investment.

However, Level & Co. is not just any old art gallery; it's an art market merchant bank, a testament to the innovative spirit of Masterworks. The gallery focuses on post-war and contemporary works of art valued above $1 million, offering art lovers an opportunity to experience these masterpieces up close.

The intersection of online sales and physical galleries
New York City, a vibrant hub of art and culture, has been buzzing with a series of exhibitions and gallery openings in recent times, particularly during the second-ever edition of New York Art Week earlier this spring.

Each of the exhibits brings its unique flavor to the city's art scene, contributing to the rich tapestry of creativity that New York is known for. Level & Co., with its unique proposition and impressive collection, adds a new dimension to this landscape. While it's too early to measure the impact of these openings, there's no denying that they're injecting fresh energy into the city's art scene.

The advent of online art sales platforms like Masterworks has significantly transformed the art market. These platforms have made art more accessible, breaking down the barriers that once made art investment the preserve of the elite. The launch of Level & Co. represents an interesting intersection of the online and physical realms of art. It signifies a trend where online platforms are recognizing the value of physical spaces in providing a tangible art experience.

This blend of the virtual and physical is shaping the future of the art market, creating a more inclusive and immersive art ecosystem.

What’s next?
Masterworks' journey from offering virtual viewing of artworks to opening a physical gallery is a testament to its growth and maturity. It reflects the company's commitment to enhancing the art experience for its investors and the broader art community.

It also answers many of the skeptics’ concerns over the transparency of ownership and the storage of the purchased masterpieces, since investors and enthusiasts alike will now be able to visit these fractionally-owned art pieces up close and personal.

The launch of Level & Co. is a significant milestone in Masterworks' journey and a fascinating development in the broader art market. It signifies the blending of online and physical spaces, a trend that's expected to influence the future of the art scene. As this change takes place, it's evident that the art market is becoming more open, diverse, and interactive, with companies like Masterworks playing a key role in this change.

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