British Artist Damien Hirst Enters NFT Arena

Damien Hirst, a prominent figure in the Young British Artists movement has gotten on the NFT bandwagon. NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, rely on blockchain technology to designate an official copy of a piece of digital media that would otherwise be cheap or free.
Hirst's project features 10,000 NFTs, with each corresponding to their own distinct works of physical art. The NFTs cost $2,000 apiece. A year from their purchase, the collectors of the series, called "The Currency," will have to decide whether to keep the NFT or the painting; whichever one they do not choose will be destroyed. "It's a kind of battle between the people who want the physical art world and people who want some NFT or digital art," said Joe Hage, a collaborator of the artist's. "People can decide what they want, like an art-based social experiment."
Over the past eight months or so, there has been a breathless rush into NFTs, climaxing in Christie's auction house selling a digital artwork for $69 million in March. "NFTs are an asset class, like fine art," said Alex Tapscott, managing director of Ninepoint Partners' Digital Asset Group. "They're newer, so they're riskier, but ultimately they're still an asset. People buy them with the expectation that they can sell them for more."

Discussing his NFT collection, Hirst said: "They're both art, and they're both equal. I had to buy into that first, and I have to buy into the idea that I'm happy with destroying physical art and destroying the NFTs". "I've got absolutely no idea what people will do," he added.
"I think that digital art is probably going to last a lot longer than galleries. I mean, you probably won't be going into galleries. We'll be sitting in bars showing each other what we've recently bought on our phones, and that's kind of what we do now. I just think anything that looks good and feels good, and makes you feel good, you know, it's good art. It doesn't have to be in a gallery."

Photo credit: HENI

August 2, 2021
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