Angst and anger as NFTs claim high-culture status

Angst and anger as NFTs claim high-culture status 1
Angst and anger as NFTs claim high-culture status 2

Angst and anger as NFTs claim high-culture status 3

Angst and anger as NFTs claim high-culture status 4

It’s as immutable as a blockchain company: Irreplaceable tokens, or NFTs, have made art history forever. While some in the Arterati movement swoon at the thought of unwashed digital hordes besieging their domain, the reality is that the two worlds of great art and crypto are destined to become one.

You may never have heard of Mike Winkelman, but at least one art icon is willing to say he can get a spot next to Pablo Picasso. The 39-year-old artist, better known as Bipple, has managed to make his way into more than half a dozen different encyclopedias after auctioning off his career summary collage, The First 5000 Days, for a whopping $69.3 million today.

Son of a bitch.

– beeple (@beeple) March 11, 2021

The auction set numerous records and earned Winkelman a number of superlatives that collectors and NFT competitors will no doubt be rubbing their hands with: third most expensive item sold at auction by a living artist, first all-digital NFT auction at Christie’s, and most expensive NFT ever sold.

Except that the $69 million price tag not only exceeds some of the biggest records, but also marks the end point of no return. If ever there was a chance to shake up the narrative, to change the course of the zeitgeist, it has passed. Beeple is now an artist of world historical importance; Beeple is high culture. Bipple has sold his work as NFT; NFT is the new medium of high art. The debate is over and we wonder what it all means.

As told by Kenny Schachter, writer-artist-curator-teacher-dealer:

Whether the art world likes it or not, this is the art world of today […] These are the people who will revolutionize the industry – they already have – and change the way people collect and what they collect. It’s already happened.

The great irony, of course, is that the world of fine arts and that of cryptocurrencies have more in common than not. While the guardians of high art scramble to protect what Miner calls the last bastion of expression untapped by the media from the corrupting invaders of the NFT, the existing culture, ethics and technology of the NFT could ensure that the last bastion retains its elite status for generations to come.

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Abundant Fear Quotes

Bipple is one of the nation’s largest digital artists and one of Christie’s largest traditional auction houses, said Aaron Wright, co-founder of OpenLaw Auction and NFT Flamingo DAO Investment Group. NFTs no longer operate on margin. They settle in the heart of the art world.

It’s a change that even people who have long been involved in the NFT field, like collector and developer Nate Hart, haven’t gotten around to. Just two years ago, Hart was participating in NFT hackathons and shipping independent projects; now he’s being interviewed about his collection on national television news.

Beeple is a pretty crazy thing to me. It doesn’t strike me as something that can be classified as high art, but I’ve long expected some of the more elite NFTs like CryptoKitties #1 and/or CryptoPunk Aliens to end up at Christie’s or Sotheby’s, Hart said. I have a couple of NFTs that are now worth 6 figures and I’m wondering: Am I now a top quality art collector?

This is exactly the time when the elite of dealers, collectors, gallery owners and other standard-bearers of the art world are having an apoplectic fit. There was a wave of grumbling, disguised as food for thought, from representatives of the art world, high and low: Georgina Adam cited scary quotes that most established participants in the art world would be appalled by much of the art offered as NFT; Brian Droitcourt called most offerings on SuperRare derivative junk and said the broader crypto space is fundamentally pyramidal in nature ; And before dismissing some of his statements in the Cointelegraph interview as foolish, Schachter combined Adams and Droitcourt’s views by saying that much of the NFT art doesn’t communicate and only has its exchange value.

Art critic Blake Gopnik was particularly clear in an interview with Marketplace:

No one, I hope, is suggesting that these are timeless works of human creativity and genius, because as works of art they are just commonplace.

In addition to these qualitative arguments, allegations against Artereti’s custodians have been circulating lately in the form of accusations of catastrophic environmental impact from the NFT, a tired old galoot that the broader crypto-currency world has been pushing away for over a decade. The thing about crypto is that it can fight over and over again: Outsiders vastly underestimate the fun nerds take in creating rebuttal blogs.


– Moxarra Gonzalez (@Moxarra) March 10, 2021

If digital currency enthusiasts feel like they’ve heard it all before, that’s because they have – It’s going to be Blockchain, not Bitcoin…. It’s a nice experience,but there’s no way to keep it up….. It’s a Ponzi scheme; the only value comes from the biggest fools. There are some minor variations in terminology and language (art instead of currency), but ultimately it’s the same long-dollar-note cocktail.

Strange, my bed is the son of a swallow

Even those in the art world with a greater sense of nuance (or the financial interest in embracing a new trend, take your pick) notice the cyclical nature of these critics’ arguments.

Noah Davis, a specialist in post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s and curator of the Beeple auction, told Cointelegraph that the clutch’s reaction was not unlike the rise of the street art category as a major collectible, with the controversy surrounding the work of maverick artists like Banksy paradoxically legitimising the work of auction houses.

A similar opinion is shared by Damien Hirst, the iconic British artist who recently stated that he loves cryptocurrencies and would print them. When Hirst and other young British artists appeared on the scene in the late 1980s, critics began the same predictable and frighteningly violent tirades, even writing entire books about why Hirst’s work was a sham. Today he is one of the most attractive artists at auctions.

Hurst told Cointelegraph that a critical robbery is a rodeo he has been to at least once:

I have yet to hear a good argument as to why this new cryptographic art is not art, and this is how it always starts, there is no doubt that Bipple (Mike Winkelman) is a damn great artist, and why shouldn’t he put himself on par with all the great artists in history? I love it when something upsets the narrow-minded art world, and when that happens, in my experience it usually doesn’t go away anytime soon.

The Santimillionaire also spoke about his own project, NFT Currency, which will be released later this year – a release that makes him the most prominent institutional artist to make the jump into the NFT art world.

Ideology, art and technology

What makes Artery so picky is that the NFT, as an art movement, resists easy historical contextualization. It is not a semi-homogeneous aesthetic trend like Pop Art or Post-Internet, nor is it a mere technological advance like photography – nor can it be reduced to an ideological movement like the Situationists or Dadaism. It is a free and dynamic mixture of ideology, art and technology. But despite this ever-changing landscape, critics have sought and found the necessary ingredients in this suspension to cause dyspepsia.

On the contrary: The participants of the youth movement are extremely optimistic. The gmoney NFT manifold has three major technical innovations:

I think there are a few things that distinguish art from blockchain as a movement. Firstly, the artist can come into more direct contact with his collectors. The second is the demonstrability of the work and the possibility of being paid for that work. And thirdly, it is an international market that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Combine these characteristics of blockchain with a free and open nature and an aesthetic that, for better or worse, tends to be bright and more or less expressive, as Hart says, and you have the contours of something that at least vaguely resembles a full-fledged art movement.

Critics, however, point out that, with the exception of blockchain-based technological advances, everything the NFT arts movement puts forward has been done before. According to Droitcourt, pure digital art has been experimented with since the 1990s, and many observers note that NFT artists are mainly introducing well-thought-out forms that artists have been experimenting with since the emergence of digital art in the 1960s.

Aside from these annoyances, most critics just don’t like NFT art. The reason for this is that: NFT art doesn’t know how to remove the little finger.

The descriptions are lurid, cartoonish and similar to what you might see in the back of a pickup truck. We need a little more critical engagement. There is more than a faintly paternalistic belief that NFT artists need to open a few history books and learn art-arts if they really want to have a lasting historical impact.

Tin Tulips

Most of the above comments come from one particular critic: Miner. But someone who describes himself as the most democratic person you’ll ever meet, holding a position in the visual arts world, has since given up at least some of that and now thinks NFT art is heading for an institutional takeover.

Anyone who laughs at it will have it hanging on their wall in five to ten years’ time, he told the Montelegraph.

Rather, Shachter’s face reflects the transformation of the rest of the art world. And how could they not? The cryptocurrency market is fast approaching half a billion dollars, a growing percentage of the overall art market. If you want blockchain tech and blockchain new money, existing cultural capital blockchain art is the necessary stick.

The air is out of the ether and nothing will push it back, Schachter said. There will be price hyperinflation with some specific phenomena, but it is by no means a bubble.

However, in both worlds, marriage requires a period of mutual maintenance. Mr. Schachter is currently teaching an NFT course at New York University (it was supposed to be a course on the history of furniture design, but the students asked for more current content), and is delving into the history of NFT and NFT art.

He says he loves anarchy and nihilism, I love it when these people upset and shake up the art world, but he laments the lack of contextualization of NFT artists in terms of their place in art history.

I wrote for my grandmother @opensea

– kenny bergmann (@kennyschac) 7. March 2021

Some of these artists don’t know who Calder, Giacometti, Miro or the most famous artists are, he said. […] These people are artists, I don’t care if they know who Basquiat is or not, if someone does something that is a visual medium, then everything is fair. But if you want it to be art, or call it art, open the book.

It is a burden he places on himself, on the NFT artists and on the art world, which must learn from each other’s stories and adapt to the new technological world.

Covid has accelerated the art world’s dull and foolish relationship with technology, moving it forward 15 years in one year, he said. There’s no turning back.

To bring these two worlds together, Miner is curating NFT’s Breadcrumbs art exhibition, which opens September 9. April in the German gallery Nagel Draxler. The preview shows that the Cryptopunks and Pepe, among others, will be there:

Breadcrumbs is an NFT art exhibition at @nageldraxler in Cologne, Germany, which will open on 9… April will be open. A list of artists to follow….

– kenny bergmann (@kennyschac) March 10, 2021

If there is a battle line between the traditional art world and the NFT world, Miner’s position is clear (even if he throws grenades in different directions). By asking for breadcrumbs, the commissary’s theme was not subtle:

It’s about making the art world believe it’s art, whether you like it or not.

Citadel, meeting with Bastion.

Of the dozens of reviews I read, only one was nearly correct.

In an article for her publication, Marion Maneker, president of ARTnews, portrayed cryptocurrencies as barbarians who have successfully taken down financial skeptics and are now scouring the country to flatten another city – a city that, as Maneker implies, exists only in her imagination.

It’s not about art. It’s not even about the money, he wrote. […] He is about to overthrow what many proponents of cryptography consciously or unconsciously consider the last bastion of a distant, opaque and gnostic high culture.

Mr. Maneker, whose resume is surprisingly long (he has worked for three different publications with New York in the title), suggested that the idea of an isolated, elite art world was absurd, using largely unpublished quotes – a notch above the quotation marks. After reading his resume, I don’t believe it.

Snobbery aside, Maneker was finally treading on the right path of psychodynamic diagnosis, but he just came to the wrong conclusion. Barbarians don’t always break and fall; in fact, there is good historical evidence that barbarians are sometimes lovers, not fighters. And like ancient Rome, the art world can skillfully bring strangers together.

Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies joke about the Citadel, a dystopian future in which they have become a permanently entrenched neo-aristocracy after the collapse of the outdated financial system. The Citadel needs art – and residents need to feel important. The barbarians don’t want to burn down the Last Bastion, they want a ticket.

For now, the art world wants cryptocurrencies; soon, after a few more years of snobby quotes, it will want art too. The Citadel and The Last Bastion will become one, and visual art and NFT will consummate their marriage. The two already intolerable communities are destined to produce terrible ideological children who will undoubtedly earn the guillotine, and the cycle will begin again.

Water falls from the sky, but the oceans never fill up. Blockchain and art are shaped by a destructive/regenerative dual energy – an energy that excites artists like Hirst:

Picasso made childlike art when he was a grandiose old man, Cy Twombly sells paintings for millions that look like doodles that know very well. Who knows what will happen next? Which is appropriate. Let those who are not yet born decide.

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