Christie’s Art + Tech Summit dives right into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the art world. Bringing together collectors, artists, curators, and auctioneers to discuss this burgeoning art form.
NFTs have taken the art world by storm this year. Christie’s was the first auction house to get into the game, with an exclusive NFT auction. The sale of Beeple’s piece for $65 million is still unbeaten.
For the traditional art world, this emerging collaboration between tech and art has been a controversial and much-discussed topic.
For the opening of the Summit, Christie’s named their panel “NFTs @ Christie’s: Finding Value in the Unknown.” This perfectly encapsulates the NFT phenomenon, as it seemingly came out of nowhere and takes a while to fully understand.
Mediator Cara Walsh spoke to Christie’s cataloguer Meghan Doyle, Founder of TRON Justin Sun, art collector Ronnie Pirovino and artists Mad Dog Jones and Micah Johnson about this new frontier.
NFT as a medium
NFTs are fascinating because they encompass so many aspects, from cryptography to art. When it comes to the art world, NFTs have provided a basis for authenticity and legitimacy to the digital artwork. This medium has long been maligned for its lack of scarcity.
“Digital media was thought of as disposable or temporary, but NFTs have changed that,” explains Ronnie Pirovino.
For the panelists, NFTs offer new possibilities and open up the art world. However, not one that usurps the position of previous mediums, but rather an addition.
“I look at it like it’s a medium,’ explains Micah Johson. “Just like charcoal is a medium.”
“It’s just a new direction in the trajectory of art history,” says Meghan Doyle.
Art collector Justin Sun agrees. He believes that in the future, the most valuable art pieces won’t only be the Picasso’s but also the artwork made by those very familiar with the blockchain.
Empowerment through the community
In addition to providing a new medium for the art world, the panelists also agreed that artists are being rewarded by it as well.
“One thing that stuck with me about the NFT community is that it’s strong,” says Pirovino.
This is echoed by Johnson. “The community has the ability to empower people,” he says. For Johnson becoming an NFT artist came about through discussions and connections with those in the community. In addition, his own work is tied to community involvement.
Pirovino argues that these artworks are a product of audience response, “and that’s revolutionary to a certain degree,” he says.
“What really attracted me to NFTs is the innovation,” explains Mad Dog Jones. He says that NFTs allow artists to not only work in digital and earn money but also to go beyond the currently defined limits and make really inventive art.
For Doyle, it’s also about how this art can be interacted with. “It’s not only freedom to display [the art] however you want, but it all comes back to the idea of access,” she says. “It’s letting people see, be present, and have access.”