Museums Showcase Top-Shelf NFTs IRL | Decentralized Arts
BanklessDAO Weekly NFT and Cryptoart Newsletter
Dear Bankless Nation,🏴
For every piece of news we annotate and for every editorial we write, there are at least ten other topics that we would like to cover. Metaverse, NFT fine art, collectibles, new trends, artists, latest news, online and offline appointments are all themes that await no one, they unfold over time. Sometimes it is difficult to choose the topic and the news and there is always the fear of writing too much - other times too little.
This is the stimulus that prompted us to open the Twitter account that we hope to make more and more interesting, and with which we can create moments of dialogue with all those who share our passions.
Welcome to Decentralized Arts.
Authors: BanklessDAO Writers Guild (Grendel, Kouros, Frank America)
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Three Scenarios of NFT Art Exhibited in Physical Museums Around the World
It seemed the art world had been struck by lightning when American graphic designers auctioned the world’s third most expensive artwork ever sold by a living artist, trailing only behind David Hockney and Jeff Koons – raising the question if NFT art was more than just a passing niche culture phenomenon but, au contraire, here to stay?
A bolt from the blue it was not: The crypto economy has developed rapidly since Satoshi Nakamoto’s 2008 white paper on blockchain. But as of late, it has especially empowered digital artists. When traded as a non-fungible token (NFT), an intangible piece of online art gains value. This is because it is assigned scarcity. As a result, the artist can anticipate high profits, adequate royalties, unprecedented market transparency, and a form of visibility appropriate to the digital medium: the artwork is showcased in a way that it is designed for in virtual marketplaces, online exhibitions, and metaverse galleries.
However, some brick-and-mortar museums around the world have already proven that it is not contradictory – and possibly trailblazing - to display virtual art in real life. These three institutions lead by example:
THE UCCA LAB, CHINA: A PLAYFUL AND EDUCATIONAL “VIRTUAL NICHE”
Virtual Niche took place in the spring of 2021 at Beijing’s UCCA Lab, the interdisciplinary department of one of China’s leading contemporary art institutions – the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, and continued touring in Shanghai. Featured artists were Robert Alice, Beeple and Wu Jianan, among others. The exhibition was curated by BlockCreateArt (BCA), a crypto art brand, and co-produced by Qinwen Wang.
Advertised as the first-ever major offline crypto art exhibition, “Virtual Niche - Have you ever seen memes in the mirror?” has been a pioneering project. Visitors were invited to not only contemplate the artworks of more than sixty digital creators, but also to get in touch with the more hands-on, interactive display items, such as building themselves a digital identity in Crypto-Punks-Style or experiencing a mining installation. The goal is to dismantle reservations about crypto art and create awareness for the numerous possibilities that come with it. As the organizers say, “Once we are able to understand [that] the complex interaction happens within the process of creating a virtual environment, virtuality is not arcane to us anymore.”
THE FRANCISCO CAROLINUM MUSEUM, AUSTRIA: DEMYSTIFYING BY STORYTELLING “PROOF OF ARTS”
The Francisco Carolinum Museum in Linz, Austria, took a slightly different approach with its exhibition Proof of Arts in the summer of 2021. Curator Jesse Damiani presented "a short history of NFTs, from the beginnings of digital art to the Metaverse", billed as the world's first museum exhibition on the complete history of NFTs in art.
Damiani, along with co-curators Fabian Müller and Markus Reindl, divided the somewhat non-linear history of NFT art into different chapters. Each of which highlighted moments that influenced the development of NFTs in art, such as experimenting with computer art in the 1950's or the 2008-whitepaper on blockchain. The museum's director Alfred Weidinger explains,
"From an art-historical point of view, there is a homogeneous development from the past of digital art to the present. Therefore, it is also legitimate and part of our educational mission to show such an exhibition in the museum."
The expo follows the stories of several representatives of the crypto art community, such as Bitnik, Ai Wei Wei, Nancy Baker Cahill, Blake Kathryn, and others, who deal with the topics of value systems, the role of the artist in a high-tech environment, and the impact of virtual spaces on real life.
THE SEATTLE NFT MUSEUM, USA: “THE SOCIAL EXPERIENCE”
As the before-mentioned exhibitions eventually ended, NFT art has found a permanent physical home in Seattle, Washington. Just recently, on January 14, 2022, two tech executives, Jennifer Wong and Peter Hamilton, opened the doors of their Seattle NFT Museum (SNFTM) to art aficionados, tech enthusiasts and curious people from all walks of life. The showroom is an educational ground covering crypto art from around the world. Moreover, it is a place for the community to connect IRL. Thirty high-resolution screens currently show examples from Larva Labs "CryptoPunks", art by Tyler Hobbs, Blake Kathryn, Neon Saltwater, Charles Peterson, and others – provided on loan directly by the artists and owners.
"Before NFTs, digital art was highly underrepresented because of its right-click-save-as nature," said founder Hamilton in an interview, "And so many of these artists have been underrepresented and underappreciated. […] we're just really excited to start bringing some more notoriety to those types of artists and focus on their medium, their practice, their inspiration, like you would with a painter, but you know, with their digital paintbrush."
If you’ve ever wondered why you should want to contemplate a digital masterpiece in a physical environment instead of on your phone (isn’t it just a difference in screen sizes?), here’s the deal:
Museums and art institutions have the competence and know-how to create rich, sensory experiences in a stimulating atmosphere. Visiting a gallery can be instructive, playful, and inspiring. First and foremost, and especially in the examples of UCCA Lab, the Francisco Carolinum Museum and the SNFTM, it turns into a social event that encourages networking and exchange. Hamilton, one of the founders of the Seattle NFT Museum, puts it this way:
“We’ve been following this burgeoning community of NFT artists, curators, collectors, and it’s just exploding. The community has this incredible energy and influence that they wield. Still, there’s something that’s missing, and that’s the physical experience and physical interaction that comes from looking at art together.”
The purpose of artynft is to bring a personal touch into the NFT Art scene. To make it understandable for everyone. We want to show that technical know-how is not necessary to enjoy and hold beautiful art pieces.
BanklessDAO Artist Showcase
🧑🎨 Artist: BlairZaye
🏦 Auction Type: 1/1 editions
💰 Price: 0.03 ETH each
Collect your #cryptogrill in the BanklessDAO Rarible account!
DA: Your ETH-studded gold teeth NFTs are fun and vibrant. They feel like a mixture of Crypto/Rap Culture/and a Cheshire Cat smiling. What inspired you to make this collection?
BZ: They are very much a meeting of cultures. I guess my connection to them which brought them into being is my background as a street artist, which is closely linked to hip hop culture.
Street art and graffiti culture as well as hip hop started as an alternative underground subculture and has become a worldwide movement. I see parallels between this and NFT’s and crypto. NFT’s and cryptocurrency started as an alternative to the monetary systems we live under, it is now being adopted into the mainstream particularly due to the efforts of org’s and DAO’s like BanklessDAO;)
So, by blending these two cultures, crypto and hip hop, I looked for a way of helping people represent themselves as a part of something.
PFP’s are of course a great way of displaying your affinity with an NFT project, but I wanted to take it a few steps further – by inlaying the logo of any given cryptocurrency into the grillz I was able to enable people not only to represent a coin or crypto, but with the addition of the 13 facial expressions (happy, sad, angry, etc) they were able to show their emotional state as it pertains to said coin.
And on the flip side, within hip hop culture, grillz were a display of wealth (‘bling’ and ‘flex’), style, self-expression and attitude IRL, much like the display of NFT’s and crypto is today.
DA: When did you begin working with NFTs and why? What is your origin story for this medium?
BZ: I have been an artist for over 20 years now, making a living via various creative avenues, starting as a print media artist and t-shirt designer, becoming an abstract painter and moving into installations with various bits of interactive tech, sensors and digital. From there it was almost a natural progression to NFT’s since I was already creating digital pieces as a by-product of some of my interactive installations. I also understood the value and significance of 1/1 and editioned multiples with my background in printed media.
DA: Do you feel like there is a connection between NFTs and DAOs, or could there be?
I see the art collectives I’ve started over the years very much being run as DAO’s before DAO’s existed.These days they would very much benefit from this kind of structure, a horizontal democratic governance where everyone’s ideas and say counts equally. I also see and have advocated NFT’s as an opportunity for DAO’s and art collections to raise awareness and funds for their projects.
DA: We’re curious about where you’re headed next. Do you have any plans to release a metaverse or meta-space collection that we could know about?
BZ: A whole metaverse…? Perhaps later down the line once the production team is established. I am working on a metaverse gallery actually for the CryptoGrillz on Oncyber, should come out in a month or so. I have also been working on a number of AR/3d pieces which will be integrated into Decentraland and other metaverses as wearables for avatars.
DA: What do you think is the relationship between external displays of wealth (gold teeth, diamond earrings, gold chains, watches) and actual wealth? Do you think there is an inherent overcompensation in these types of forms or displaying affluence?
BZ: Oooooof deep:) There is the idea of fake it until you make it… Once you’ve made it I guess you don’t have to fake it anymore. But.. of course as humans we are drawn to shiny things. Whether gold, jewelry, flashing lights or the reflection in the mirror is inherent, if not learnt and instilled via the media and our culture.
To draw on my own experience, I used to be in the ‘romantic’ mindset of the starving artist: living off an oily rag, suffering for my art, dressing scraggly and covered in paint until I realized this was all really a fantasy and no one really takes you seriously if you look like a waster.
How we look and dress are signifiers we send out into the world. It’s what we are first judged on. They say it takes only 7 seconds for someone to get an impression of you. That comes before our actions or words can speak for us and that impression can last forever.
If we care we should put out what we want the world to think of us and why not put out that we are successful? But… maybe we don’t care? Or maybe it’s about what scale we use to measure success :)
DA: Where do you think the world of NFTs can go from here? Where do you see it in 5-10 years?
BZ: Gosh.. 5-10 years? That’s impossible to say.. Maybe.. NFT’s that make NFT’s? haha I don’t know. The evolution of NFT’s and crypto is moving so fast no one could predict where it would be tomorrow let alone in the future.. The idea of it could be overwhelming.
I can see a world where graphic and motion designers no longer have to work for a product or brand, creating advertisements, logos and promos for them, as they can be their own brand and market their own work as NFT’s. What then happens to big brands? If people can make more money making their own work?
Another idea I had while walking through the London Design Museum exhibit called ‘Waste Age: What can design do?’ I thought.. What about the idea of the collectible, the must have new thing, that new shoe, new product. What if that satiation could be fulfilled in the metaverse? There would be less ‘useless stuff’ in the world as people could get their fix virtually.
What I hope for is that creatives are able to use NFT’s to help create a better life for themselves. Funding for creativity around the world is often the first to be cut as it’s often not seen as a necessity, but art, creativity and culture is what really makes us feel alive. I hope that as more ‘normies’ adapt, adopt, understand and get integrated into the crypto and NFT space, wealth could be distributed across the board, people then have more time to do what they want, they have time to be creative themselves and creativity shall be held in high regard, valued and supported.
🌐 Curated NFT News
India to Launch a Digital Currency and to Impose a 30% Tax on Income from Digital Assets
Last Tuesday, India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, announced plans to launch a digital currency as well as a plan to tax cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
The new digital currency will be introduced in the next financial year, she said. "Introduction of a central bank digital currency will give a big boost to the digital economy. Digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system.”
India is the world’s second largest internet market, and the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies has also made the government aware of the need for a specific tax regime. In view of this, India will tax the income from the transfer of any virtual asset, this includes cryptocurrencies and NFTs, at 30%. In addition to this, “gift of virtual digital assets is also proposed to be taxed at the hand of the recipient,” the minister added.
NFT NYC Announces First Round of Speakers
Following the success of last year's event in November, NFT New York is gearing up for this year’s edition, which will be held in June, announcing the first round of speakers.
Coachella NFTs will give holders a lifetime pass to the festival
Coachella has announced the first set of NFTs on Solana with three different collections.
The first one is the “Coachella Keys Collection,” which is ten NFT keys that grant you lifetime access to Coachella and other perks. At the time of writing the minimum bid was $26,000.
Then we have the “Desert Reflections Collection,” which is a 1000 edition collection, and the holders will receive a digital Coachella poster from artist Emek.
The last collection, “Sights and Sounds Collection”, is a 9996 set of 110 digital collectibles made up of iconic festival and soundscapes from the Polo Fields.
Disney is Hiring an NFT Expert
The media and entertainment multinational has advertised a job for a Manager, Business Development to help lead Disney's efforts in the NFT space.
Disney has not published an official statement about NFTs yet, but at least they want to explore the monetisation of collectibles from all the IPs that they hold in the form of NFTs.
Rarible Introducing Floor Bids
The popular NFT marketplace has announced its later function: Floor Bids. This innovative feature allows users to place bids for an entire collection. After bidding, anyone holding an NFT from that collection can accept the bid.
This will make it easier for people to join an NFT community that they like without needing to bid on single items all the time.
For now, the Floor Bids are only available for ERC-721 Ethereum collections.
BanklessDAO Artist Showcase -
🧑🎨 Artist: RedCrystalDragon - Portfolio -
I've worn a lot of hats over the years but I went to school for graphic design from 2003 to 2005 and video game design from 2007 to 2008. I write a novel and illustrate a comic that shows on Tapas and Webtoons. I currently hold Graphic Design Lead in Podcast Hatchery, share the Governance/Community lead in A/V Guild in Bankless, and I'm a genesis member of Ultrasound Merch.
DA: What does it mean to be an artist in bDAO?
RCD: A lot of meaningful work and people seeing your art. You can work at your own pace and things are getting done and the euphoria from seeing your own work being used regularly really gives a thrill.
DA: What are your thoughts on the NFT world?
RCD: It's a bit of a roller coaster. The ups and downs can cause a form of whiplash but I think it's all good in the end. The more you participate the more people can see your work, and collaboration makes the best work. Two of the three pieces I've attached are NFTs currently available on my OpenSea.
DA: How can DAOs help art and artists?
RCD: DAOs can make the artist and art get noticed. Not just for exposure but helping the artists get remuneration is a big deal. No more starving artists. We have new options!
Last week’s weekly showcase numbers
Artists Crypto Bushi, Kouros, Arnld and Sinjun made a total of 2.212 ETH in sales with the NFT “RABBITHOLE.EXE”.
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