In cahoots with the boom of the crypto world, we see the art world looping the loop to please a new wave of collectors ready to engage in an illusionistic game. Only a few days passed since GameStop’s stock market turmoil before we saw Christie’s assign a lot titled, Everydays: The First 5000 Days by a digital artist nick-named Beeple. Set to start accepting bids from March 1st with a mere $100 open bid, the open auction will be live for 10 days and has already reached the $1.8million mark to this date.
For those of you with a more traditional background, such as ourselves, the artist is one of the best-selling NFT artists that work on the basis of a “drop” (a flash sale when new works are released) that in the past has made statements that start with, “hahaha, ok so we’re going balls deep on this motherfucker…”
What we are left with is a familiar trait for the art world that that appeals to a new crowd, not to the traditional collector that believes in the art’s strong “presence.”
With the trend picking up pace, we have seen others, such as the humorous art critic and artist Kenny Schachter, release a few of his own NFTs on Nifty Gateway that crashed the system and netted him a few hundred grand the past Monday 22nd of February. NFTs standing for Non-Fungible Token, identifies a token and the work of art linked to it. Therefore, each purchase is registered on the blockchain, providing a permanent record of that purchase and proof of ownership, with an additional 10% royalty on each subsequent sale on the platform’s secondary market.
But the headlines have been blinded by the novelty of Christie’s accepting Ether (the cryptocurrency that runs on the Ethereum blockchain) as a new form of payment. However, this does not technically mean that Christie’s is going to admit cryptocurrency; the consignor is the one accepting it. The buyer’s premium will still need to be paid in a conventional currency.
Furthermore, Everydays: The First 5000 Days is an exclusively digital format with a blockchain-only tracking code. This intangible asset format is far from new, as conceptual artists and performance authors such as Tino Sehgal have done his “constructed situations” since 2000. As a happy collector of Sehgal’s work, our CEO Javier Lumbreras declares: “Sehgal is even more ephemeral because it is not registered in the blockchain. Nothing is documented in writing, not even an invoice. Tino is, in fact, a precursor establishing value from the non-material until it materializes when the work is activated, and only the owner, having been previously trained, can do so. You have the best of both worlds and the institutional acceptance. Perhaps I should start to tokenize Tino.”
This would certainly make freaking news… Or at least it would give the clubhouse something actually new to talk about.
So Kenny, Beeple, don’t congratulate yourselves too much. Sehgal has been doing it for at least two decades.