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03 May 2021
press release

Austria: Schoenherr and Museum Francisco Carolinum clarify NFT Art

Schoenherr's IP & Technology practice group has set itself the goal of providing clarity on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in the art and culture industry. In collaboration with the Museum Francisco Carolinum Linz in Upper Austria, the questions preoccupying artists, collectors and museums will be addressed at one of the world's first art exhibitions on NFTs in art. An important milestone for this has already been reached: The museum recently acquired their first NFT artwork – a work of art by conceptual artist and Schoenherr partner Guido Kucsko, that was also used in a Schoenherr team's self-experiment.

In NFTs, the art market finds a digital extension in the blockchain, also known as "crypto art": An NFT is a unique assignment of an artwork to an owner in the blockchain that can be freely transferred. "New technologies like NFTs bring new opportunities to the art market," says Guido Kucsko, partner in the Schoenherr IP & Technology practice, and conceptual artist. "In order to make use of this potential, the uncertainty - and in the legal field it is significant - must be taken away. By soundly preparing and simplifying the different legal aspects related to the creation and transfer of NFTs, we are creating clarity which is currently lacking," adds Thomas Kulnigg, partner and co-head of the Schoenherr IP & Technology practice.

"In our daily work, we see how many questions both artists and collectors ask when it comes to using NFTs. As a museum we place great emphasis on our educational mission," explains Alfred Weidinger, Managing Director of OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH in Linz. "We are therefore very pleased to have the Schoenherr team, and Guido Kucsko as conceptual artist, at our side to resolve the many legal questions that have arisen."

Schoenherr's IP & Technology practice group is launching with "NFT – A Self-Experiment" in the coming weeks. The focus of the experiment will shed light on the complex legal issues associated with NFTs. For the self-experiment, Guido Kucsko provided a digital artwork that was tokenised and acquired by the Francisco Carolinum Linz Museum via the NFT platform OpenSea on 29 April 2021. The artwork is now in the wallet, the museum's digital collection. The result of the self-experiment will be continuously documented and  legal commentary will be provided at, and finally will be part of the exhibition "Proof of Art" at the Francisco Carolinum in Linz. Detailed information and legal analysis of the NFT self-experiment will later follow in the June issue of the specialist journal ecolex.

The exhibition "Proof of Art" can be seen at the Francisco Carolinum Linz from 10 June to 15 September 2021 - offline in the museum and online in an exhibition building constructed by the OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH in Cryptovoxels, a blockchain-based virtual world.



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