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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

A Conversation with Haley Mellin and Mary Rinebold

When: Monday, June 19, 2023, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Where: Zoom/ Lecture Theatre, Centre For Commercial Law Studies 67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields London WC2A 3JB


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For the second event in the Art, Business and Law LLM Artists Talks Series, guests joined us in person or online for an evening conversation between artist Haley Mellin and writer Mary Rinebold, with an introduction from Dr Miriam Goldby.

The Art Business and Law LLM was honoured to welcome American artist Haley Mellin to the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS). Over the past two decades, Mellin has built a practice based on traditional artistic visual methods, known for her on-site, observation-based paintings that focus on dialogues of biodiversity, environmental justice, and climate-pragmatism. Alongside her work as a painter, Mellin’s practice encompasses law and land conservation, biodiversity and climate migration connectivity, and the relationship between communities and nonprofits.

In support of locally-led large-scale land conservation, Mellin founded the artist-run nonprofit Art into Acres, which is dedicated to climate, Indigenous Peoples and beta-diversity through the permanent conservation of large-scale forests in collaboration with the art community and supported by artists, galleries and institutions alongside matching partners. To date, the initiative has supported a wide range of new permanent protected areas. Mellin co-founded Conserve, established in 2017, a platform that enables individuals to support permanent conservation acre-by-acre.

To support environmental sustainability and build the capacity for climate education and emissions reductions among artists, institutions and cultural spaces, Mellin co-founded the MOCA Environmental Council (Los Angeles, 2020); Art and Climate Action (San Francisco, 2020); Artists Commit (New York, 2020); the Gallery Climate Coalition Los Angeles (Los Angeles, 2021) and Gallery Climate Coalition New York (New York, 2023). This engagement between art and conservation has unfolded through collaborations with artists, non-profits, museums and galleries.

To further this work, Mellin created the initial carbon emissions calculations for museum exhibitions in the United States and Germany, including for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, ICA Miami, and the De Young San Francisco. These calculations involve carbon emissions reduction education, community learning and institutional sustainability improvements. Mellin’s support has since shifted to cultural institutions in Europe and the Middle East. To support these emissions assessments, Mellin received grants from the Teiger Foundation in 2022 and 2023.

Mellin focuses on observational painting in nature. Exhibitions in 2023 include Micki Meng/Parker Gallery, New York and The Journal Gallery, New York. After undergraduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley, Mellin received a PhD from New York University in Visual Culture and Education and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Artists Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky are long-stranding mentors. Mellin is the 2023 Max Beckmann Distinguished Visiting Artist at the American Academy and Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

The lecture at CCLS between Mellin and writer Mary Rinebold, longtime collaborators and friends, had three parts: beginning with a discussion of Mellin’s practice as a painter, then a look at bringing together conservation and art communities, and closing by exploring Mellin’s system-building with non-profits in the US, the UK and internationally. The aim of this chapter of the Artist Talks series was to learn more about Mellin’s practice and provide a window into the expanding field of ecology and art. Particular attention was given to the ways art law can support artists.

Thank you to all who attended.

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