Digital art and NFTs want to land on the moon at Art Basel

For this edition, the exhibition organizers have teamed up with the Tezos blockchain platform, which offers digital works by artists in the form of NFTs.

Digital art and NFTs are finding success at Art Basel, the great gallery of contemporary art, with art market stars such as American Jeff Koons blasting off in this burgeoning sector. Pace Gallery has unveiled the first in a series of sculptures that the artist known for her balloon dog and tulips intends to send to the Moon with Elon Musk’s space exploration company, SpaceX.

Jeff Koons, one of the world’s most expensive living artists, plans to install 125 miniature copies of these sculptures called phases of the moon » With a picture of their site, it’s sold as an NFT token (non-fungible token).

Buyers will also receive a life-size statue, encrusted with precious stones to mark its location on the moon. “We’re also discovering it for the first time.”is excited by Mark Glimcher, Gallery Director, who presents this statue in the form of a 39.4 cm moon, which has recently arrived at his stand in Basel.

Only 6% of showrooms sold NFTs in 2021

Pace is one of the few major showrooms to venture into the NFT region. According to Claire McAndrew, author of Art Basel’s Art Market Report, only 6% of galleries sold NFTs in 2021. They were highly speculative, with prices soaring since they were sold last year at Christie’s NFT auction by American artist Beeple for $69.3 million ( 66.3 million euros at current prices).

But since its peak in August 2021, NFTs have declined. While art-related NFT sales volumes rose to $945 million in August, they fell to $366 million in January and then to 101 million in May, Claire McCandro said.

However, these ups and downs don’t make the head of the Pace Gallery hold back, convinced that NFTs are a sign of an emerging market for digital art. He compares their excesses with the dotcom bubble of the early 2000s. “Of course it was a bubble. But we still have the internet today.”argued Mark Gleicher in an interview with AFP, who sees it as “a new methodology for distributing digital art ».

In this version, the exhibition organizers collaborated with the blockchain platform Tezos, which presents digital works of artists, new versions of which were created by machine learning in the form of NFTs. Visitors can come and download one for free from her booth, even if some have already resold it once they leave the gallery.

A $40 Million Spider Found by French-American Sculptor Louise Bourgeois

Besides, the ViveArts platform offers a dive into digital art using virtual reality glasses, in particular presenting an avatar by German artist Albert Olin in a 3D world. In the gallery’s corridors, the French gallery Edouard Montassut offered for sale a digital creation by Turkish artist Ozgur Carr representing a man surrounded by three skeletons reminiscent of bas-reliefs of churches, but on a liquid crystal display.

“I think NFTs will have a place in the market in the future.”AFP Mark Spiegler, Director of Art Basel, even if its prices recently collapsed At a time when artists are testing digital tools.

In the near future, the hard labors that wealthy antiques collectors can install in their living rooms are back in big numbers: A spider by French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois snatched $40 million, a work by conceptual artist Felix Gonzalez Torres Gold for 12.5 million, oil on canvas by German George Basilitz Sale for 5.5 million. “The atmosphere is excellent, despite the complex global context of the war in Ukraine and, of course, the general state of the economy.”Welcomed the head of the show.

The exhibition, which took place from 16-19 June, brought together a collection of very real works, starting with a giant bronze statue by British artist Thomas J. Cockroaches or a series of paintings carved in wood by the Cameroonian Franco Barthelemy Togo.

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