Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, Blockchain.art’s co-founder and CEO, is an entrepreneur with more than 15 years’ experience building art marketplaces. Prior to Blockchain.Art (BCA), Christina co-founded the art fair ViennaContemporary in 2015, raising over $12 million and quickly securing the fair’s position on the global art circuit as a top 10 leading contemporary art event. Prior to ViennaContemporary, Steinbrecher-Pfandt was the artistic director of Art Moscow, and curated projects with institutions including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Moscow Biennial. Christina was named one of Apollo Magazine’s “40 Under 40 Europe 2018”; she currently sits on the boards of Armenia Art Foundation, Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Artbat Fest, and is an advisor to Ars Electronica.
Christina’s beginnings are humble. Originally from Taldykughan, Kazakhstan, Christina and her family emigrated in 1990 to Germany. They were part of an exodus of close to 2.4M ethnic Germans leaving the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1997 for Germany after the Kremlin accepted the German reunification. With Christina’s parents’ Soviet education not recognized in Germany, they were forced to turn to cleaning work and security labor to support their new life. From the age of 8, Christina worked with her mother cleaning homes and delivering newspapers; by 13, she was waitressing 30 hours a week in addition to her schooling.
Christina found refuge in art. From an early age, Christina learned to love art from afar, through images of international exhibitions in places she could only dream of visiting. The solace and education that Christina felt by consuming reproduced images of artworks left a lasting impression on Christina, one that would cause her to reject elitist theories about a supposedly irreplaceable “aura” that only brought magic to original works of art found in museums.
Christina saved and ultimately paid her way through graduate school studying contemporary art. And despite her privilege in being able to walk to the institutions that she formerly only admired in her uncle’s brochures, Christina has never lost her commitment to the idea that art can be democratized and appreciated, no matter where you are located.
Remembering, though, her experience as a girl in Kazakhstan, Christina returns to her belief that art can be democratized and appreciated even when art lovers are not privileged enough to physically visit the world’s leading museums or fairs. With BCA, Christina has realized her commitment to extend art’s reach.