It's big news when UTA announces they will launch a Fine Arts Division. The key word is licensing. From Deadline Hollywood:
In clear recognition of the cultural role and potential profits the art world presents both in terms of the work itself and the lucrative world of licensing, the division will essentially serve the role of super gallery for its clients. Having said that, the agency will not actually be selling art and plans to work in partnership with existing galleries, I’m told. Regardless, this opens a whole new market and revenue stream for the agency using much the same business model as it does for Hollywood jobs. Like its film and TV clients, UTA will charge a 10% commission on projects and contracts it gets for its fine art clients.
From the Wall Street Journal:
The move marks the first time a Hollywood talent agency has stepped into a role traditionally played by art galleries, and it underscores the growing commercial appeal that top artists wield in the global, multibillion-dollar art market.
"Hollywood talent agencies will replace galleries as artist representatives in the next five - ten years I predict. The art flippers will be crushed too and the art school debt pyramid should collapse as well," says Mat Gleason, Coagula curator and critic, on Facebook.
Author and educator Jim Daichendt ponders with "Is it a perfect marriage for L.A. artists? It's already happening whether you like it or not."
The story was also covered at the Hollywood Reporter and Variety. I don't see early posts at art news sources, but UTA's advanced press was noticed by business and showbiz trade publications. That says volumes.
ABOVE: Luis Varela Rico