No NFT, no comment — how digital art dominated 2021

by AryanArtnews
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Surplus wealth, face-to-face activities, and the three letters N, F, and T have driven the vibrant art market through the 2021 challenge.

It is well documented that the rich have become richer through the Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying rise in the stock market. Currently, in addition to existing millionaires and millionaires, the dominant varieties of newcomers from the booming economy of Asia, millennial entrepreneurs, and fintech-savvy crypto investors We are delighted to ride the highs and lows of this volatile field.

The impact on the art market was immediate. In 2020, it was all about physical activity online, but in 2021, such efforts increased the desire for art and created buyers hungry to continue spending after face-to-face activities returned. I proved that. The November auction hybrid in New York traded more than $ 2 billion in just one week, dominated by $ 676 million from just 35 lots of divorced couples Linda and Harry McCrow. ..

Andy Warhol’s “Nine Marilyns” (1962) won $ 47.3 million in Sotheby’s in November from the McCrow collection © AFP via Getty Images

Whether you like it or not, the 2021 art market story was sealed in March when Christie’s provided a digital work by formerly lesser-known graphic designer Mike Winkelman (known as Beeple). it was done. This work is a compilation of 5,000 fantasy digital images shared online, including Instagram under @ beeple_crap. “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” was backed by a blockchain-protected non-fungible token, granted its own ownership, and had no price quote. In essence, no one had a clue about its value. A staggering rating of $ 69.3 million, paid by crypto investor Vignesh Sundaresan (known as Metakovan), puts Beeple in the same price range as David Hockney and Jeff Koons.

Suddenly we all had to work on new technological languages ​​(money, drop, slash) and perhaps even more difficult to understand alternative systems of value and ownership. Important issues such as copyright, taxes, and regulations catch up at the end of the year, but our problem, which we thought was a phenomenon of fleeting telecommuting, proved wrong.

The auction house quickly incorporated the NFT phenomenon into sales, with galleries from megawatt paces to unit London launching their own NFT platform. By the end of this year, Sotheby’s had its own Metaverse and had a digital gallery in the Virtual Voltaire Art District of Decentraland.

A bronze yellowed human head with a very long straight nose hangs in a bronze cage

Alberto Giacometti’s “Renez” (1965) from the McCrow collection won $ 78.4 million in November © Sotheby’s

Although seemingly confusing, such a move proved worth coming to the November auction of the McCrow collection of physical, mostly 20th-century art. Here, Justin Sun, the founder of the Tron cryptocurrency platform, who first purchased an NFT piece for $ 1,500 by digital artist Pak at Sotheby’s in April, quickly enhanced his game. He got Alberto Giacometti’s “Le Juniper” (1965) for $ 78.4 million. This is the fifth highest price paid at this year’s auction.

Overall, the public sales figures for the three major homes of Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Philips are above the decline in 2020. In total, according to analytics firm Pi-eX, it exceeded $ 12 billion in the year to December 8 and increased by 76% in 2020, 20% above the equivalent 2019 total. Hong Kong surged as a trading center while New York continued to account for the majority of record sales. Philips says sales here have almost doubled since 2020 and have already increased by 25% during the year.

Elsewhere, the art fair began to slowly return, limiting outings to events such as Art Basel in Hong Kong and Freeze in New York earlier this year. Then there was a fierce season, from Art Basel, which was postponed in September, to the event in Miami at the same fair in December. In London and Paris, face-to-face trade fairs have been bustling with the new energy of professional networking, facilitating sales on a variety of channels and are now suitable for remote access.

Fashionably dressed elderly people sit in luxurious furniture in front of the painting wall

Exhibitors at Freeze Masters Art Fair in October © Justin Tallis / AFP via Getty Images

Freeze was confident when he announced the start of next year’s fair in Seoul, where galleries are flooding this year. But the ghost of the Covid-19 pandemic was never far away. Art Basel has set up a $ 1.6 million relief fund for exhibitors for the Swiss Fair. By the time of the Miami Fair, the oncoming Omicron variant reminded us of the vulnerabilities of these international events during an ongoing pandemic.

The closure of the gallery this year shows that the industry is tense. Stalwarts such as New York’s Gavin Brown and Metro Pictures have left the scene, and in Cologne, underrated artist champion Delmes & Zander has been closed more than 30 years later. “The times have changed,” the gallery founders briefly stated in a statement.

Artists have begun to put the problem in their hands not only through social media and NFTs, but also through alternative intermediaries, especially the growing art agency scene. At the same time, auction houses are invading all areas of the art business. The gallery seems to be under pressure.

However, the benefit is that as traditional retailers move more completely online, lower rents are available. From short-term pop-ups to permanent fixtures, the new gallery space follows funding and vibrant deals at resorts such as the Hamptons, Palm Beach, and Aspen. Events focused on gallery space, including the first London Gallery Weekend of the year, step into a more decentralized world.

Pablo Picasso's

Pablo Picasso’s “Woman Sitting Near a Window” (1932) sold for $ 103.4 million in May © Financial Times

What is art? The 20th century is still the largest money-spinner, and the record for this year’s auction came from the favor of credible Pablo Picasso. A 1932 painting by his lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, was sold at Christie’s in May for $ 103.4 million. Immediately following him was Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist whose art history has taken root in the Pantheon and is popular around the world with a focus on a wide range of re-evaluations of street culture and color artists. was. Exhibits and trade fairs offer a wider variety of art exhibits, but there is still much work to be done to correct the imbalance.

Speculation flew into the work of a handful of contemporary artists as the auction house turned their offerings into the latest new art. The generally plagued Old Master market was able to generate the third highest auction price of the year in January when Sandro Botticelli’s portrait of c1480 was sold at Sotheby’s for $ 92.2 million. And in December, the Dutch government confirmed that Rembrandt’s “Standard Bearer” (1636) was ready to be purchased for € 165 million.

Such enthusiasm for traditional painting may not be deeply transmitted until 2022, but it is an old guard in contrast to the Metaverse. But if the NFT’s enthusiasm at the Miami Fair in December manages, you probably won’t hear much else next year.

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