Artists and NFT: from rejection to militant use – Le Quotidien de l’Art

NFTs – these parts of dematerialized objects – very quickly entered the art market in force, provoking curiosity or annoyance. What about artists?

NFT: this acronym, five years ago, meant nothing to anyone. Even today, the functioning of these non-fungible tokens (non-fungible tokens in French), titles of ownership of objects purchased in cryptocurrencies and attached to a digital identity on the blockchain (database encrypted by “blocks”, without central authority, editor’s note), remains cryptic to many. If works of art represent only a tiny part of NFTs (read theWeekly September 10, 2021), the artistic sphere is torn between the pros and cons. With the possibility of a crash caused by the fall of cryptocurrencies in sight. According to the Wall Street Journal, NFT sales have reportedly fallen 90% since September 2021, while artist Takashi Murakami, on June 8 on Twitter, said to himself ” sorry “ among crypto investors following the impressive tumble of its Flowers, whose estimate has gone from 260,000 to 2,200 dollars in one year… But the market is too fluctuating to already sign the death warrant of NFTs. Some galleries that initially shunned them have gotten into it, albeit cautiously, like the giant Pace, with Verso, a dedicated platform. While others express deep rejection, such as Constantin Chariot, director of the Patinoire royale/galerie Valérie Bach, in Brussels, who in The Free Belgium only sees“a criminal and speculative financial product, designed by unscrupulous crooks”…

Experiments and professionalization

What about artists? Many wonder about the technology itself. Professor at New York University’s ITP, member of the FAT Lab and community manager for openFrameworks, artist Kyle McDonald has been working with code for several years and exploring the different possibilities offered by new technologies. It is quite logically that he turned to NFTs in order to question their possibilities and limits, but also to understand how they affect society. In 2021, his “Ethereum Emissions” project pointed to the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies. the street artist Rero has also been playing for several years with the aesthetics of the Web and computer language by using the Verdana font in many of its works. Last April, the artist put up for sale for one Ether (about 1130 euros at the current price) an NFT made up of 25 images, available on the Open Sea platform and at the Backslash gallery in Paris. He is not the only artist from the Parisian gallery to have taken over Web3 (a decentralized Web using the blockchain, editor’s note): Boris Tellegen has created five NFTs for the gallery, which has already sold four, and wishes to position itself more broadly on this technology. This is also the case for other French galleries, one of which admits “having somewhat forced an artist to put his works in NFT when he was, at first, rather reluctant”.

Winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2006, visual artist Philippe Mayaux is best known for his sculptures and paintings, and was not propelled into the art world thanks to digital art. As an article in the magazine recalls Forbesthe artist was however one of the first to start 3D printing in 2010 and now wants to show “paintings 100% produced using computers and digital technology in the same way as traditional paintings are presented”. Last February, he launched a limited series of 20 NFTs with the Loevenbruck gallery…

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Artists and NFT: from rejection to militant use – Le Quotidien de l’Art


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