Damien Hirst has launched his first NFT project, titled The Currency, for which Britain’s richest living artist burned $10 million worth of artwork during a live broadcast on October 11.
The first 1,000 pieces were cremated in Hirst’s London gallery. The Money Art Collection launched last year and includes 10,000 NFTs, each associated with a physical oil painting. The artist wants to test the value of digital art versus physical art.
Collectors who bought one of The Currency’s NFTs had a year to decide if they wanted to keep it or send it back to get the physical paint job. The deadline expired in July this year, and the situation is as follows: 5,149 paintings, which include many colored circles, will be delivered in physical form, and 4,851 will only exist in digital form.
When asked how he felt after burning the artwork, Hirst replied, “I felt good, better than I expected.”
Some people have blamed the artist for destroying art during tough economic times.
“A lot of people think they’re burning millions of dollars worth of art, but that’s not what I’m doing, I’m completing the transformation of these physical artworks into NFTs by burning the physical versions,” said explained the Briton.
The artist did not burn all the physical paintings in one day. The operation will end on October 30, when The Currency exhibition closes.
The NFT collection is available on the OpenSea platform and the starting price is 5,199 Ether (ETH).
The works are published directly on the blockchain, without a physical version.
Hirst is not the first artist to create works that will only exist as NFTs, with no physical equivalent.
“Arcadia,” a poem billed as an NFT written by poet Arch Hades, was auctioned off by renowned New York house Christie’s for $525,000. This is a nearly 10-minute abstract video that includes text, animations by artist Andrés Reisinger, and electronic music by RAC.
Separately, in February 2021, author Blake Butler released a TNT of his novel “Decade” in .gif format. The collector who purchased the NFT also received a PDF of the text of the work. Butler even promised that the novel would never be released in physical format. The NFT was sold for 5 Ether (ETH) in less than a day.
Damien Hirst, the “enfant terrible” of the art world in the 1990s
Hirst is a painter and a conceptual artist whose main theme in his work is death. He became famous in the 1990s for his often shocking ideas.
Some of his best-known works are dead animals – including a shark, a cow and a sheep – preserved in formaldehyde.
Damien Hirst’s other works, which included live worms and butterflies, were seen as reflections on mortality and people’s fear of facing it.
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Damien Hirst’s First NFT Project: $10 Million Live Burnt Art – Media Patrollers
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