It has been a rough few weeks for trade and art.
There is certainly a revolution going on and we are too entangled the hot mess to see it properly.
With that caveat, here are two notes from the front line.
NFTs are cutting-edge, digital art is not
Some people say it is the non-replaceable token (NFT) that allows a digital work of art to be owned exclusively by a buyer is traceable to it creation of Colored coinsin 2012 – or to CryptoPunks in 2017 – though the this one the market exploded recently.
One page of Jules Antoine LissajousA study of the optical representation of sound vibrations1957
But digital art (DA) self has an older pedigree.
As early as 1857, the Frenchman, Jules Antoine Lissajous (1822–1880) published images of mathematically designed “Lissajous figures” by capturing lines created by sound harmonies with a camera. These numbers had been identified by the American 42 years earlier, Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) – it’s just that Bowditch didn’t show them as pictures.
The first work of art to be fully recognized as being computer-generated and thus ‘digital’ Oscillon 1 made in 1950 by the American computer scientist Ben Laposky (1914-2000). He called these pieces ‘oscillons’ or ‘electric compositions’. They were Lissajous figures of a complex type. A 1953 show of his work in Cherokee, Iowa, she called “ electronic abstractions. ”
Ben Laposky, Oscillon 45, 1952
Laposky inspired other digital artists and produced the medium’s first major show in 1965, in Stuttgart, with the lead Frieder Nake (born 1938) and the first museum exhibition, “Cybernetic serendipity,” Bee London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts three years later.
DA’s emphasis on geometric abstraction went along with the excitement of the world for Pollock and the swarm of abstract expressionists that stirred the cultural waters of the day. The optical play and clean reproduction of DA designs also gave a boost to the early 1960s On art
Op Art: Frank-Stella, Untitled 1966
DA’s emergence with sharp linearity, geometry and images categorized by number persists to this day.
There are large digital art collections at the Whitney, MOMA, the Walker Art Center and other juggernauts of the art world; and there are now more than a dozen museums dedicated to digital art – from The MuDa of Zurich, to Tokyo Mori Museum of Digital Art, to the Digital art center in LA
NFT Pics: Easy on the Eyes, but not museum ready
Beeple (Mike Winkelmann at beeple-crap.com – the man who created the $ 69 million Every day) said we are witnessing “The Next Chapter of Art History.”
New chapters in art history are being written by artists to make new art.
But this is a chapter written by artists (and their advocates) taking new financial steps.
This is a new chapter in financial history.
Piero Manzoni, Artist’s Shit 1961
It is true, Damien Hirst and others have engaged in financial acts as aesthetic. Artists have sold sky shit, and invisibility as conceptual progress, but that’s not what’s happening this month.
When this art is attached to an NFT and sold for stacks of crypto, it is not showcased it as an artistic achievement.
A lot of new market fluidity to be is used, but not a fresh aesthetic concepts is to be shaping the action.
At the time of writing, the vast majority of images that end up in NFT collections for snail heaps of Ethereum look more like 1950s paperback covers than the digital art productions migrated to museums and large galleries for years.
Beeple, The infinite and beyond 2015
While anime, computer games, and comic books are the main source of inspiration, this NFT drop will certainly exist in the field of cultural reference for decades, and I will admit, there IS an art historical development here, but I don’t think it’s the one that Beeple is thinking about.
This moment is an A-bomb explosion in the greater fragmentation and recombination of kitsch and high art that has been going on since a long, bloody D-Day. Andy Warhol’s first art show in 1962
We can point Toulouse Lautrec (1864-1901), Stuart Davis (1892-1964), and handy Andy (1928-1987) as the guys who delivered the first blow, but the master bombmaker in today’s broken landscape is certainly Brian Donnelly (b. 1974), better known as the cartoon character maker, KAWS (… with apologies Takashi Murakami
KAWS, Little lies, 2020
True, this could be another burst of low brow taste (as people have said about the rise of KAWs and Warhol), but I don’t think that’s the case.
There’s just a whole tuna school of new money millionaires splashing around the planet who are used to it Neuromancerstyle images – and they buy whatever they want.
It is not an art revolution.
It’s not a change in taste.
It’s just the emergence of some wonderfully new destinations for tons of disposable income.
That said, I am confident that a cultural counterbalance of historical artists will join great first-adopters such as Kenny Scharf now any time on the NFT market.
With the pace of things evolving, I bet my bottom Bitcoin that like this wild, explosive and strangely historical weeks around from the month, blockchain money will start chasing high-quality art products just as it now looks for CryptoKitties, video clips and original tweets.